Back to Political 'Morality': No Dance Bars in Maharashtra, Says CM
NEW DELHI: Maharashtra Government is all set to bring a fresh legislation to clamp a blanket ban on the dance bars in the state. With the beginning of the Budget Session of the state Assembly, it has decided to prepare a draft and propose it in the successive weeks after an all-party discussion and tying all the loose ends of the previous legislation.
The Bill is supposed to challenge the Supreme Court interim order against the ban on dance bars. The Apex court in 2013 had ruled against the ban citing the fundamental rights of the dancers to earn their livelihood. Last week also, the Court had pulled the State Government for not issuing licenses to the bars and other establishments, enabling them to stage performances, as per the October 2015 directive.
“There is absolutely no ambiguity about strictly enforcing the ban on dance bars across Maharashtra. While the government holds the highest reverence for the directives of the Supreme Court, where we fall short to portray our view is a matter of perception,” CM Fadnavis said.
However, in step with the interim order of the Supreme Court, it has ceded some ground in favor of the dance bars and has agreed to install the CCTV cameras at the gates of the establishment instead of inside the premises as it originally wanted, their argument being that it will monitor the unlawful activities better if installed inside. But the Supreme Court directed against it saying that installing cameras inside interferes with the fundamental rights of the citizens.
But this move on the part of the Government shouldn’t be translated as giving up on its moral crusade against the dance bars, since CM Devendra Fadnavis has made it amply clear saying, “There is no question of allowing dance bars. Moreover, our new Act will provide all the safeguards to ensure dance bar ban will continue.”
The government has based its fight against the continuing of dance bars on the public outrage against its existence as a moral vice. The opposition of dance bars in the state, mainly in Mumbai, goes a whole decade back when in 2005 the government brought a legislation which ordered banning them. The outrage against the dance bars is such that the legislations have found, in the past, a rare bipartisan support in the State Assembly every time they have been proposed.
The ban on dance bars in Mumbai had first come in 2005, which prohibited any dance performance in restaurants, bars, and eateries while exempting the three star and five star establishments from same restrictions. The Bombay High Court in 2006 had stayed the ban calling it a contradiction to the Article 19 of the Fundamental Rights. The stay was then followed by a petition against it in the Apex court, which had upheld the High court decision in 2013.