Government says new law is still in force and applications for licences will not be entertained even now
The chief minister says the SC has not issued an order to grant permits to dance bars under the old rules
What had come as an exciting piece of news for the 33 dance bars in the city, is once again going to face challenges, just the way it had earlier. A day after the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) claimed that the Supreme Court has allowed dance bars to apply for licences under the old law, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ruled out any initiative in the matter. He mentioned that the apex court had not issued any order to grant permits under the old rules.
Denying bar owners’ claim, Fadnavis said, “Applications sent to the government will not be entertained. The apex court has not stayed the new law.” Before the final order is issued, the state government is expected to file an affidavit before the court. Sources said the government would do its best to ensure ban on dance bars.
A 10-year-old battle between the owners of dance bars and the government ended on March 2, 2016 when the SC set aside the state's ban on dance performances in bars and directed the police to issue licences to them by March 15. However, the state government did not budge and got a new law passed, which was also challenged in the apex court.
The Dance Bar Regulation Bill, that was unanimously passed in April this year prohibited serving liquor in performance areas and mandated that the premises must be closed by 11:30 pm. It also imposed heavy penalties on the bar owners and customers for not following the rules. In September, the SC termed the state’s law banning liquor in dance bars as absurd and absolutely arbitrary. But the government said it had complete right to ban liquor at any place within the state.