Mumbai can have dance bars again but conditions apply
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- The Supreme Court of
Indialifted the ban imposed on setting up a dance bar in Maharashtratoday.
- 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 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
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.
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