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No relief to bar girls, SC adjourns Mah plea till July

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) The Supreme Court today admitted the petition filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the Bombay High Court order of April 12 quashing its order banning all dance bars in the state.

A bench comprising Mr Justice B N Aggarwal and Mr Justice P P Naolekar refused to grant any interim relief to the dance bar girls, while adjourning the matter till July.

The Bombay High Court had granted eight weeks time to the state government to approach the apex court and also permitted it not to renew dance bar licenses till then. The time limit expires by the end of first week of June.

Earlier, senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for the state government, pleaded that prostitution rackets were being run under the garb of beer bars and they had indecent and vulgar performances, ''derogatory to the society.'' He also contended that there were only 345 licensed dance bars while there were about 2500 unlicensed bars which were doing business in the state.

Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the women organisations and some of the dance bar girls as well as for dance bar owners, pleaded the preamble of the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005, which has been struck by the High Court as unconstitutional itself, holds the dance performances for public amusement are permissible.

He also pleaded that the state had the powers to cancel the licenses of those beer bars where obscene performances are being performed.

Senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, appearing for several women organisations, pleaded that there were 70,000 women engaged in dance bars and more than 12 of them have already committed suicide due to unemployment and financial cruch. Another counsel pleaded with as many as 72 per cent of the girls married and 68 per cent being sole bread earners of their family, the order by the state government has rendered them jobless and had been rightly struck down as arbitrary and unconstitutional by the high court.

Mr Sorabjee also contended that there were about 25000 three-star hotels in the state and the impugned section itself is arbitrary and discriminatory as it permitted dance performance at places visited by the rich and well to do sections of the society while performances in small dance bars were banned.

Today's order by the Supreme Court means that dance bar girls will have to wait till at least next hearing for any relief because the stay granted by high court order will continue till July.


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