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Observing that all the conditions laid down by the Maharashtra govt on the functioning of dance bars in Mumbai can’t be allowed, the apex court on Thursday (Jan 17) issued a slew of directions to the Maharashtra government.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan revoked a regulation that separated dancing podium from the bar area where drinks are served. It further quashed a provision by which dance bars should be 1 km away from religious and educational places.

Finding no merits in the rationale behind CCTV installation in dance bars, the court also nullified it. However it validated a stipulation of Maharashtra government by which working women should have contract so they can’t be exploited, but reversed a rule of monthly salary for bar dancers.

The court said: “There cannot be overall bar on dance bars. No licence has been granted by Maharashtra govt since 2005. There may be regulations but that should not amount to total prohibition.”

The court also eased stringent conditions by Maharashtra govt for license to operate dance bars while upholding the time of five and half hours for dance presentations and allowed orchestra and tips but put a ban on showering of coins and cash inside bar.

The court was hearing a clutch of petitions filed by restaurant and hotel owners, bar girls and others challenging the new law in Maharashtra enforcing fresh curbs on licensing and functioning of dance bars.

In August last year, the court had reserved its judgment after hearing arguments from bar girls, bar owners and Maharashtra government and observed that Maharashtra govt was imposing total moral policing saying “with the changing times, the definition of obscenity has also changed giving instance of live-in like relationships which has been accepted by society which was not there earlier”.

—India Legal Bureau

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