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SC asks Maha govt to license dance bars in two weeks

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to deliberate and select applications for authorising hoteliers to have dance performances in beer bars.

The Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant, gave the two weeks’ time limit. The bench was informed that the Maharashtra government had not enforced its October 15 order both verbally as well as in document.

The law banning dance bars – an amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act – had been passed unanimously without a debate in June 2014. Earlier in 2013, the top court had quashed a similar law banning dance performances.

The court also mentioned that it will make sure that there would be no obscenity during the dance performances.

The law banning dance bars was amended and passed under the Maharashtra Police Act – unanimously without any disputes in June 2014.

The apex court had pointed out that the provision was taken back in the Maharashtra Police Act in 2014.

The previous amendment of 2014 was challenged by restaurant owners, arguing that the state was preventing the intention of the court by not implementing their recent orders. The Supreme Court agreed, noting that even though it had set aside a parallel provision, the law had been revived in a new manner.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devandra Fadnavis tweeted on Thursday, that the government would search all legal choices including legislative mediation as they are essentially against reopening of the dance bars in the state.

Over 1500 bars throughout the state had provided work to more than 75,000 women dancers before the state government first enforced the ban in 2005. The Bombay High Court had on April 12, 2006, refused to the government’s choice and stated the provision unconstitutional, mentioning that it was contradictory to Article 19(1)(g) (to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of the Constitution.

Maharashtra Government had then advanced to the Supreme Court in contradiction of the high court’s verdict.

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