Supreme Court allows dance bars to reopen in Maharashtra

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the operation of Maharashtra Police Act that prohibited dance performances at eating places, beer bars and restaurants.

Noting that the said provision was brought back in the Maharashtra Police Act in 2014 after being held ultra vires in 2013 by the top court, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant said that it is "appropriate to stay the provision" that prohibits the dance performances.

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However, the court made it clear that the dance performances should not be remotely explicit of any kind of obscenity.

Representational pic

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis stated, “The SC has stayed the amendment of the state government on banning dance bars. But, the order also gives power to the state to regulate obscenity there.”

He added, “We had given an affidavit saying that we are in total support of the ban. Though court's order mandates regulation of performances, we will present our case, asking for the ban. We will decide next course of action only after receiving the detailed order.”

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Responding to the development, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and anti-nightlife crusader Vasant Dhoble said, “If it is the court order then the police will have to abide by the law. However, the local police can ensure the installation of CCTVs in the premises so that no illegal or immoral activities take place in the premises.”

Meanwhile, Niranjan Shetty, chairman, AAHAR (hotel and restaurant association) said, "The state government should uphold the Supreme Court’s order. And we expect the government to do it."

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