STATING that a few dance bars could soon resume operations in Maharashtra, bar owners on Friday said they expected to be granted licences on fulfilment of the 26 conditions that the state government had laid down earlier. Veena Thadani, the lawyer representing dance bar owners, said the Supreme Court would, on July 7, hear the matter pertaining to conditions imposed under the government’s new law passed on April 13.
The dance bar association had earlier expressed dissatisfaction after they were allotted licences as per the new law passed by the state on April 13, which had stringent conditions including that these bars should be located at least a kilometre away from any educational or religious institution, and might operate only between 6 pm and 11.30 pm, among other clauses.
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The bar owners had maintained that the dance bars would not be able to function under such stringent conditions.
The issue was brought before the Supreme Court through their lawyer on Friday.
So far, three dance bars – Aero Punjab, Sai Prasad and Indiana bars — in the city have been granted licences by the Mumbai police.
Bharat Thakur of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHAR) said, “The court has said that the bars will operate according to the 26 points laid down earlier. While three licenses have been issued so far, other bars too will apply for licences soon.”
The 26 points that the dance bars have to follow include constructing a non-removable railing of three feet height adjacent to the dance stage, character and antecedents of all employees verified by the police and CCTV cameras being affixed at the entrance of the premises of the dance bars.
The dance bar owners had agreed to these rules.
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A bar owner from AHAR said, “ This is good news for us as the conditions set out by the newer law was so stringent that inspite of getting the licenses it was not possible for us to operate. We had not applied for licenses earlier since it was not point getting it under the new law.”
Some owners, however, still remain skeptical and expect that the state government may impose other restrictions, since they do not want dance bars to function in the state.