Maharashtra minister defies Supreme Court order, says dance bars will remain closed

MumbaiMaharashtra‘s Home Minister R R Patil continues his crusade against the opening of dance bars in the state, in defiance of last week’s Supreme Court order, which lifted the 2005 ban imposed by the state government, calling it unconstitutional.Notwithstanding the Supreme Court order, Maharashtra government is firm that dance bars remain shut, Home MinisterR R Patil today told the assembly here.He indicated that the government is mulling withdrawal of dance performance license to star hotels to remove any disparity.Replying to a query by MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar in the House, Patil said if needed, the dance bar license issued to the star hotels (3 or 5 star hotels) will be withdrawn.

“The state government will take a decision in two days on the verdict of Supreme Court that upheld the Bombay High Court‘s decision to quash the ban on dance bars,” Patil said.

Nandgaonkar and senior PWP legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh wanted to know the steps being taken by the state government on the Supreme Court ruling on dance bars.

“We have sought legal opinion from experts in Delhi and Mumbai. The state government is of the view that the ban on dance bars should continue,” the Home Minister said.

The government has formed a committee of experts to decide further course of action, he said.

The apex court had last week lifted the ban on dance bars quashing the law approved by the state legislature.

“Within the next two days, the government will inform the House about its stand on the steps being taken on the Supreme Court ruling,” Patil said.

Nearly 700 establishments across Maharashtra employed more than 75,000 women who performed Bollywood-style routines for cash in return, before the Mumbai Police in 2005 banned such performances in bars but allowed them in “elite establishments” and hotels that were of three-star standard or higher.The decision, declared unconstitutional by the Bombay High Court, was then challenged by the state government in the Supreme Court which argued that the performances were vulgar and left women performers vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.Women activists and lawyers representing the bar dancers have called the government’s stand sexist.source- ET and NDTV




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