Ban on dance bars: My government in favour of total ban on dance bars, says Devendra Fadnavis

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Mumbai, Oct 16: A day after Supreme Court gave a conditional go ahead for dance bars in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that his government is in favour of ban on dance bars.

"My government is in favour of the ban on dance bars. There is absolutely no ambiguity about my government's stand on the matter," Fadnavis was quoted as saying in an Indian Express report said.

'In favour of total ban on dance bars'.
"While the Supreme Court's interim order mandates regulation instead of a ban on dance bars, my government is in favour of a total ban. Accordingly, we have taken steps to examine the order of the apex court and will go in appeal to press our demand for the ban on dance bars. We are studying the interim order in detail. From what I gather, the court in its interim order has mandated regulation to ensure indecent conduct or act is not allowed," he further said.

Maharashtra hoteliers were jubilant on Thursday after the Supreme Court gave a conditional go ahead for dance bars but the state government seemed reluctant to revive what was once the jewel in Mumbai's night life that was abruptly killed 10 years ago.

The Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) welcomed the apex court judgement saying they had got justice after 10 long years.

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"We are keen to restart the dance bars as soon as possible. After getting the judgement copy, we shall hold a dialogue with the chief minister," AHAR president Adarsh Shetty said.

He said the authorities must not view the dance bars as a social evil but as a means to attract tourists.

"Look at the vibrant night life in Bangkok, Shanghai or Istanbul and other cities worldwide. What does Mumbai have for tourists, barring local sight-seeing and good food?" Shetty asked.

He alleged that though hundreds of restaurants had applied for licences, the Mumbai Police sat on them for years though they collected all types of revenues from the hoteliers.

Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil urged the government to issue an ordinance and amend the law after plugging all loopholes.

He said the Congress-NCP government had banned dance bars in 2005 as they represented a form of social evil. The move had been widely hailed.

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the operation of the Maharashtra Police Act that prohibited dance performances at eating places, beer bars and restaurants.

Noting that the provision was brought back in the Maharashtra Police Act in 2014 after being held ultra vires in 2013 by the top court, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant said it is "appropriate to stay the provision" that prohibits the dance performances.

However, the court made it clear that the dances should not be remotely explicit or obscene.

The dance bars were shut down in 2005 when then home minister R.R. Patil signed the relevant orders. Overnight, 300 official dance bars and around 3,000 illegal establishments in Mumbai were shut down -- or converted to regular eateries or liquor bars.

In a single shot, an estimated 60,000 dancers (from the 300 legal dance bars) and another around six lakh in unofficial dance bars were rendered jobless or reassigned as waitresses.

Besides, another 2,400 dance bars in other parts of the state, mainly in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Raigad and Pune, also faced the axe, leaving more than six lakh women unemployed.

OneIndia News

(With inputs from agencies)

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