Mumbai can have dance bars again but conditions apply

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  • The Supreme Court of India lifted the ban imposed on setting up a dance bar in Maharashtra today.
  • It also ruled against other proposed restrictions like the installation of cameras inside the bar.
  • The decision came in when a petition challenged the strict norms levied by state government that made it almost impossible to set up and run a dance bar in Maharashtra.
The ban on dance bars in India’s financial capital has been lifted by the country’s Supreme Court.

The government of Maharashtra can regulate these bars but cannot fully prohibit them, the court said in its verdict.

The court ruling also overturned installation of cameras inside the bars as it invades privacy.

The Supreme Court has also removed the mandatory condition of dance bars to be one kilometer away from religious places or school citing it ‘unreasonable’ for Mumbai.

In 2018, some of the dance bars in Maharashtra that were already carrying out business were exempted from certain clauses of the new law imposed by the state government.The top court said the laws were ‘weird and ridiculous’.

Mumbai has a long history of ‘dance bars’ — bars that had women entertaining guests with private or group dancing in exchange for tips. However, these were banned in 2005 by the state government, mostly on moral grounds, but was later struck down by the Bombay High Court in 2013.

However, the then Congress government brought an ordinance to implement the ban. Today’s verdict from the SC allows aspiring dance bar operators to procure a licence from the state government and operate under stricter regulations.

While the government took a moral high ground on the debate over dance bars, a union of the dancers, called the 'Bharatiya Bargirls Union’ complained that the ban was not amoral or hurting their dignity, it only took away a source of livelihood.

See also:
10 landmark judgements India’s Supreme Court passed in 2018

All you need to know about the landmark Supreme Court verdict on reservation quotas for job promotions

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