Plea in SC against lifting ban on dance bars in Maharashtra

New Delhi: A plea was filed in the Supreme Court today seeking reversal of its interim order staying the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act banning dance performances at bars and some other places, claiming that reopening of dance bars would increase crime.

The plea challenges the decision that had paved the way for reopening of dance bars across Maharashtra.

"Appeals against ban on dance bars by Hotel and Restaurant Associations and owners before the Supreme Court were not properly represented by the Maharashtra government, which has not put its stand against the ban," the application filed by Vinod Patil, President of R R Patil Foundation, said.

It said the case, favouring the ban, was not presented properly before the apex court and claimed that reopening of dance bars will increase crime.

Referring to the judicial pronouncements in the case and subsequent amendment in the state law, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla Chandra Pant had last month said "We think it appropriate to stay provisions of section 33(A)(1) of the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Act."

The apex court order had come on the petition filed by Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association. The Maharashtra government had amended the 2005 Bombay Police Act, which was challenged in high court by the

The Bombay High Court on April 12, 2006 had quashed the government's decision and declared the provision unconstitutional, saying it was against Article 19(1)(g) (to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of the Constitution.

However, the state government had moved the apex court against the high court's order that same year. On July 16, 2013, the Supreme Court had upheld the Bombay High Court verdict quashing state government's order, saying the ban violated the constitutional right to earn a living.

The state assembly had on June 13 last year passed the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Bill which prevented licenses for dance performances in three-star and five-star hotels. The ban also covered drama theatres, cinema halls, auditoriums, sports clubs and gymkhanas, where entry is restricted only to members.

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