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Legislative panel to study dance bar bill

Don’t expect any decision on dance bars until a joint select committee, comprising all party members, reviews its draft

The writing on the wall is clear — the Congress-NCP government is vehement about controlling dance bars in the state. A joint select committee, comprising all party legislators, will study the draft of state legislation on bars. On Saturday, party leaders assembled at Vidhan Bhavan to arrive at this decision.

Also read: Dance bars should stop serving food, says R R Patil

ACP Vasant Doble raids
ACP Vasant Doble raids four night spots near Dahisar Check Naka. File Photo

Home Minister RR Patil chaired the meeting, which was attended by leader of opposition, Eknath Khadse, and group leaders of the Shiv Sena, MNS, PWP, Samajwadi Party and others.

The legislative panel is expected to take a few months to submit its report. Sources in the government confirmed that no decision will come to the fore until then. It may be recalled that the state’s decision to amend the Bombay Police Act was set aside by the Supreme Court last year.

Since March, a number of applications to renew dance bar licences have been pending with the state government for approval and delay in response prompted dance bar owners to knock the apex court’s doors with a contempt petition. The court, subsequently, has issued notices to the state and asked the home department and its head, Patil, to submit
affidavits.

The home department approached the state cabinet with three options — to either enact a special law to govern dance bars, enact a new law drafted by the state advocate general which would regulate working conditions for staffers at bars, or to let bars operate as they did prior to the ban.

According to sources, the state home department is in favour of enacting new legislation to control dance bars.

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