THREE DANCE bar owners received conditional licences from the Mumbai Police Thursday night in keeping with the Supreme Court order that had asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that licences were granted to at least eight bar owners.
The bar owners are however not happy with the new law passed by the Maharashtra government, which puts in place measures like shutting down of dance bars by 11.30 pm and not serving liquor in the areas where bar dances were performed.
During the previous hearing on Tuesday, the SC had come down heavily on the state government for not granting licences to the bar owners. The owners are hoping that the SC will come to their aid and strike down the stringent conditions included in the state government’s new legislation.
Aero Punjab and Sai Prasad bars at Andheri and Indiana bar at Tardeo were the three bars that were granted the conditional licences after they submitted the demand draft of Rs 2 lakh.
Bharat Thakur, who heads the Bar committee of Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHAR), however said they were not completely satisfied since the licences were granted with stringent conditions. “If we shut down bars at 11.30 pm and do not serve liquor in the area where the bar dancers perform, then who will be interested in coming to dance bars,” said Thakur. He added, “We will raise this issue before the Supreme Court which is hearing the matter on Friday.”
A Mumbai police officer said that they were merely operating as per the laws laid down by the state government. “We have followed the SC order that asked us to grant licences. Of the eight dance bars, the three who submitted the demand draft were granted conditional licences. We will be checking there if they comply with the conditions within 60 days,” said the senior officer.
Earlier in the day, six of the eight dance bar owners — two owners being out of the city — were on their way to the Mumbai police headquarters when they were informed that they have to bring a demand draft of Rs 2 lakh for premises licence. An officer said that earlier they had to pay Rs 1,80,000, the licence fee was raised by Rs 20,000.
Accordingly, the six bar owners rushed to get the demand drafts. Three of them Aero Punjab, Sai Prasad and Indiana bar reached on time and submitted the demand draft following which they were granted licences. The other three owners will make the payment on Friday.