The government will bring a comprehensive new legislation on the dance bar ban in the Budget Session commencing on Wednesday in Mumbai, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday.
An all-party meeting would be convened to discuss the draft in the first week of the Budget Session. The Bill would be tabled for discussion and passage in the state Assembly and Council in successive weeks.
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Fadnavis said, “There is absolutely no ambiguity about strictly enforcing the ban on dance bars across Maharashtra. While the government holds the highest reverence for the directives of the Supreme Court, where we fall short to portray our view is a matter of perception.”
However, he asserted, “With due respect to the apex court, most of our conditions were approved. There was only one difference where the apex court said CCTV cameras should be installed at the doors and not inside dance bars.”
According to Fadnavis, “Even in five-star restaurants, CCTV cameras are installed inside and there is no question of parity or prejudices against five-star hotels and dance bars. Nor does it infringe on privacy.”
But it appears those arguing against the CCTV installation inside believe it infringes on fundamental rights, he said.
He revealed that the government has not given permission to dance bars holding licences to resume. “There is no question of allowing dance bars. Moreover, our new Act will provide all the safeguards to ensure dance bar ban will continue,” he added.
While making it clear that they would exercise their executive right to bring a new legislation incorporating all shortcomings which were in the past challenged legally, Fadnavis argued, “The ban on dance bars is an outcome of public demand.”
The dance bar ban was for the first time enforced in the state through an Act in 2005-06. However, the Act was legally challenged repeatedly, first in the Bombay High Court and then the Supreme Court. Yet, the Congress-NCP government between 2005 and 2013, twice mooted the legislation to re-enforce its decision to ban dance bars.
Fadnavis said, “The former home minister late R R Patil had once approached us when it was challenged. As opposition party, we had then given immediate support even before reconsidering their new draft.”