Bar dancers once again find themselves pitted against the law. This time in the Capital. A Bench of the Delhi High Court will soon have to decide whether bar dancers can be allowed to perform in the city’s hotels.
A group of bar dancers has moved the court challenging their “unjustifiable arrest” from a south Delhi hotel and urged that FIRs against them be quashed.
The Crime Branch of Delhi police had recently conducted a raid on the El Dorado dance bar allegedly being run illegally in Hotel Rajdoot in Nizamuddin and arrested 14 people—13 bar girls and the hotel’s Managing Director Manmohan Kalra—on charges ranging from obscenity to immoral trafficking. The girls aged between 20 and 30 are from lower middle-class families. While four of them are from Delhi, others are from Bihar, Noida, Punjab, Kolkata and Allahabad. All of them have been granted bail.
The police said that interrogation revealed that some of the accused girls were earlier employed in dance bars in Mumbai but were forced to shift base to the capital after those establishments were shut down by the Maharashtra government.
The girls have refuted all the allegations in the court and said that they had been unjustifiably arrested in a fake case. They contended that there was no obscenity in their acts and that they were only performing classical dances and dance steps from Hindi films to earn a living.
The bar dancers have asked the court to permit them to pursue their “age-old” profession.
The petition will be heard on January 22. Justice S.N. Aggarwal, however, provided some relief to hotel MD Manmohan Kalra, whose licence to hold music programmes and dance shows based on Hindi songs was suspended following the registration of the case. The judge allowed him to host light music programmes.