SC gives Maha govt 2-week deadline for Mumbai dance bar licences
Upset by the Maharashtra government’s non-compliance of its October order, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, fixed a two-week deadline for the state to grant licenses to dance bar operators in Mumbai.india Updated: Nov 27, 2015 08:23 IST
Upset by the Maharashtra government’s non-compliance of its October order, the Supreme Court, on Thursday, fixed a two-week deadline for the state to grant licenses to dance bar operators in Mumbai.
The ruling was given by a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra when the counsel for the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) informed the court that the state government had not acted on any of the requests put in by various restaurants and hotels for getting licenses.
The Maharashtra government counsel, senior advocate Harish Salve, assured the court that its directive would be “respected and adhered to”.
On October 15 this year, the apex court had stayed a contentious state law that banned dancing in bars, restaurants and hotels, leaving several women performers jobless. The court’s interim order had paved the way for re-opening these establishments that were forced to shut shop about a decade back.
More than 75,000 women were employed in Maharashtra’s 2,500 dance bars which were also a source of livelihood for 1.5 lakh other professionals, including cooks and waiters. Thursday’s ruling shall remain in force until the court gives its final verdict on the IHRA appeal challenging the state government’s 2013 law which makes the operation of dance bars punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 3 lakh.
Over the past decade, the Maharashtra government, under the reign of both Congress and the BJP, has pressed for the law “to protect the dignity of women and guard them against prostitution”. The dancers have, however, said the prohibition would force them into prosecution as their only source of livelihood would be snatched away.
Meanwhile, SC allowed Vinod Patil, head of RR Patil Foundation, to intervene in the matter.