In a bid to ensure that dance bars in Maharashtra do not reopen, the state might ban dance performances in star hotels, too.
Almost a year after the Supreme Court overturned a dance bar ban in existence in the state since 2005, leaders of all political parties Saturday decided to “take all necessary steps to ensure dance bars remain shut.”
Unwilling to back down on the dance bar issue, a cabinet sub-committee, comprising senior minister RR Patil, Harshvardhan Patil, and Ganesh Naik, convened an all party meeting to discuss amendments that could be introduced to the Bombay Police Act to override the SC verdict. During a meeting leaders from across party lines supported ban on dance bars. Following the meeting, sources said that the government has plans to introduce a legislation to this effect in the ongoing budget session.
SC had objected to exemptions granted to three star, four and five star hotels and gymkhanas for dance performances. During the meeting, the leaders agreed that this ‘discrimination’ should be done away with.
A separate amendment would be introduced in the same legislation to ensure that dance performance in cultural and social events are not impacted.
However, while the legislation is likely to be brought before the state cabinet Monday and later presented to the legislature, sources said the bill could come up for approval only after the assembly polls in October as it is likely to be referred to the joint select committee of the legislature.
The SC had ruled against the state argument that the ban was a form of additional regulation since the system of license and permits was insufficient to deal with the problem of ever increasing dance bars. The court had observed that it was a ‘sad reflection on the efficiency of the licensing/regulatory authorities in implementing the legislation.’ It had also denied state’s contention that dancing in prohibited establishments leads to depravity and corruption of public morals.