Errant dance bar owners in Mumbai could be prosecuted using harsher new rules
On one hand the dance bars owners are rejoicing that they will get to start operations in the next few days, the state government on the other the hand is exploring the possibility to punish offenders as per the new Act, which has harsher provisions related to penalty and imprisonment.mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2016 10:19 IST
Possible State officials says apex court has neither quashed nor stayed the new Act, making it eligible for application in case of violations
On one hand the dance bars owners are rejoicing that they will get to start operations in the next few days, the state government on the other the hand is exploring the possibility to punish offenders as per the new Act, which has harsher provisions related to penalty and imprisonment.
As per the new rules under Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (working therein) Act, 2016, the obscenity and exploitation of women working in the bars is punishable with a fine of Rs10 lakh and imprisonment of three years. Similarly, showering of notes and coins may attract a penalty of Rs50,000 and imprisonment of six months. The Act also has the provision of suspension of the licence in case of violations.
“We will follow the Supreme Court orders of issuing the licences as per the old rules, but we also are tapping the possibility of imposing the penalty and punishments as per the new Act. The SC hasn’t neither quashed nor stayed the new law, which means it is still applicable. And not implementing our own law will be unwarranted. I think the bar owners know this very well and hence they are yet to start operations,” said an official from the home department.
Last week, the Supreme Court directed the state government to issue licences to the dance bars as per the old rules. One of the 26 stipulations in the old Act states that the existing laws and directives issued by the state authorities will be applicable in case of a violation. Though the bars have been allowed to operate as per old rules framed in 2014, the harsher provision of the new Act, enacted in April 2016 and the rules framed subsequently, could be slapped against the violaters.
“We are going step by step and will think of the punishment when it comes to it. Our priority is to start the operations. We are meeting the authorities tomorrow with a copy of the order from the apex court. Not only 38, but even the new applications will have to be entertained by the authorities for issuing licences,” said Adarsh Shetty, president, Ahar. He said if the government tried to apply the new rules against violations, it may lead to the contempt of court and they will have the legal recourse open.