The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the Maharashtra government for delaying granting licence to dance bars in Mumbai and directed the state government to give permit to eight dance bars within two days.
The apex court said that the state appeared to be adamant on not letting the “girls earn their livelihood.”
“We want to allow ladies to earn their livelihood, you want to take away their right to earn,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra told additional solicitor general Pinky Anand after the court learnt that the government had put on hold applications of eight bars.
The bench ordered the state to issue them licences within two days, provided the bar owners submit an affidavit assuring they will not hire employees with criminal background. The government will place a compliance report before the court on Friday.
“What is this? Why have you not complied with our order? What certificates you (Maharashtra) want? I had told you last time that you must maintain constitutional norms,” Justice Misra told Anand when the counsel for bar owners complained that the department concerned was refusing them the licence .
Senior counsel Jayant Bhushan said most of the employees are facing obscenity charges, filed against them when the bars were operating. “The cases are still under investigation,” he said. The top court had earlier said it was better for women to perform in dance bars than beg on the streets or do something “unacceptable” to earn their livelihood.
The bench, however, acknowledged the state’s contention that there should be no “obscenity” in dance bars and a woman’s dignity must be protected.