The state has been landed another blow in their fight against dance bars in the state. Days after the Supreme Court lifted the 2005 ban against dance bars, the authorities have been left red-faced after it came to light that the state revenue department was still levying entertainment duty, bolstering the case in favour of dance bar owners.
The home department was shocked when it came across arguments by bar owners that the state received a significant amount of income from them as form of entertainment duty, said a senior functionary from the state government.
A source said that the 2005 amendment to the Bombay Police Act stopped the dance bars from functioning but the revenue department’s notification remained the same which allowed them to issue a duty on every dance bar owner within BMC limits to pay Rs 30,000 and Rs 25,000 from bar owners of other municipal corporations.
This notification has been one of the main defences of dance bar owners, who said they were paying the duty regularly and how could the home department ban them if duties were still being levied. “Without taking into consideration the definition and the basis to levy such a duty, the home department cannot go ahead with its own plan of banning the dance bars,” is the dance bar owners’ main argument.
Regarding the entire revelation, government sources said, “We are now finding out the pros and cons and the contention made by them while taking the decision since the issue remains unanswered by us.”
Meanwhile, the state home department is still working on its future course of action after the apex court judgment. Since the court has scrapped the amendment to Bombay Police Act made in 2005, it will have to introduce yet another amendment to restore the position that existed previously.
When asked, Home Minister R R Patil said his department would decide its stand within a day or two.