SC pulls up Maharashtra for non-compliance of order on dance bars

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today took strong note of non-compliance of its order asking Mumbai Police to grant licenses to dance bars within ten days after they complied with the modified conditions, and sought the presence of the concerned police officer before it.

"What have you done so far? It (process of granting licenses) should have been completed by the date fixed by us," a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said and sought the personal appearance of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) dealing with the licensing issue of dance bars to personally appear on April 25.

The bench also asked the authority to file a "compliance affidavit" before the next date of hearing.

The court, while modifying certain pre-conditions framed by police for granting licenses to dance bars on March 2, had said, "the modified conditions along with conditions on which there is no cavil shall be complied with within three days and the respondents (Maharashtra and its police) shall issue the licenses within ten days therefrom.

"We are sure the authorities shall act in accordance with the command of this Court and not venture to deviate."

At the outset, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, alleged that Maharashtra has not complied with the direction to grant licenses to the dance bar owners within ten days after they complied with the modified pre-conditions and urged the court to summon a responsible officer to the court.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Maharashtra, sought some time for filing the affidavit to show compliance of the court's order. The bench adjourned the hearing to April 25.

Earlier, the court had rejected certain conditions like providing live CCTV footage to police on the performances in the dance bars and asked Maharashtra government to grant licenses to owners within 10 days after they complied with modified guidelines.

The bench had granted three days to dance bar owners to comply with the modified conditions.

The bench, on March 2, had said, "We are inclined to modify the conditions of installation of CCTV cameras and providing the live footage to the police. We direct that the CCTV cameras shall be installed at the entrance only and not at the restaurant or performance areas."

It had also warned the authorities against deviating from the court's directions and asked them to ensure strict compliance with the modified conditions.

It, however, clarified that modified conditions were interim in nature and would be subject to final outcome of the main petition challenging the amendments in the law governing dance bars in the state.

The bench had observed that Maharashtra police could deploy its personnel there but no CCTV cameras can be allowed in the performance areas.

The court had also modified the conditions of separating the stage and audience areas by a railing and said a three- feet high railing will be put up in the front. The bench had also allowed verification of criminal antecedents of dance performers and setting up of greenrooms for them.

Among other conditions which the court allowed was putting up of non-transparent partition between restaurant and permit room area and the petitioner Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association agreed to it.

The bench also said that permit area or the stage cannot be altered without the prior permission of competent statuatory authority.

Earlier on February 24, the apex court had come down heavily on Maharashtra government for putting conditions for granting licences to dance bars across the state.

The dance bar association, represented by senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, has red flagged certain conditions. The association had objected to the condition that makes.

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