The country’s apex court has spoken, but the Democratic Front government in the state is determined to have its way. As part of its ongoing crusade against dance bars, the government may revoke performance licences given to star-category hotels soon, sources say.
Discrimination between such hotels and regular dance bars has been a contentious issue, debated ever since the state amended Bombay Police Act in 2005. As of today, just six to eight five-star category hotels have these permits, which they have never used in at least three years. So, an annulment of the licences is unlikely to create a flutter.
Meanwhile, officials from the state home and law departments have started studying the SC judgment to rationalise a further decision. The administration is expected to submit its views by early next week. Then the state government will take into consideration the public opinion and sentiments before presenting the issue before the state assembly, Home Minister RR Patil said at Vidhan Bhavan yesterday, adding that the legislature would devise the final resolution.
Criticising dance bar owners, Patil said most of them have violated rules on many occasions. The transgressions primarily pertain to cut-off limit for business hours and age of employees, including dancers.
“The bars are supposed to close by 1.30 am. But, this rule has been dishonoured by most of these establishments. We cannot offer relaxation at par with star-category hotels, where closing time is around 3 am.
And this was prescribed taking into consideration the convenience of foreign tourists and arrival timings of international flights. To allow regular bars to operate till 3 am, we will have to provide police bandobast. But, this is not tenable, as 60,000 posts of police constables are vacant,” Patil contended. Refuting allegations of opposition leaders that the government put up a weak defence in Supreme Court, he said the best lawyers were appointed to represent the state’s stand.