The Supreme Court is likely to take up on Tuesday the Dance Bar Association’s plea seeking a direction to the Maharashtra government to start issuing licences to dance bars.
Earlier, on May 9, the Supreme Court had ordered the state to give conditional licences to eight bars in the city. The bars were asked to comply with a set of stringent rules in order to get back their licenses.
Following the order, 150 bars sought licences to hold live dance performances.
The order came after Maharashtra government had filed an affidavit in the court informing the bench that they had not granted licenses to eight dance bars as some of their employees had criminal background.
The state will also inform the Apex court about the action taken against 28 ‘orchestra bars’ in Mumbai.
Earlier the SC had also ordered that CCTV cameras be installed at the entrance of bars and not in the restaurant or the performance area as requested by the state government.
The bars were raided under the new rules framed after the enactment of the law to regulate dance bars in April this year. The stringent rules has raised the annual deposit to Rs2 lakh from Rs2,000, penalty for violations related to licences to Rs25 lakh and hefty fines for insult to dignity of women working in bars.
The bar owners had said earlier that they had complied with all 26 conditions to hold dance performances on the premises of their bars, but the state government was making the process longer.
The home department took a series of review meetings last week to prepare for the SC hearing. The department also questioned the Thane and Navi Mumbai commisionerates for not initiating action against ‘orchestra bars’.
The home department officials claimed the stringent rules have not only made reopening of dance bars impossible, but even it has made difficult for ‘orchestra bars’ to operate.
Dance bar owners have challenged the state government’s act of banning the dance bar by amending the Maharashtra Police Act in 2006 and 2013, and enacting a new law regulating bars in 2016.