‘Licences issued to 3 dance bars in city have lapsed’

  • Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2016 01:25 IST
The state will also inform the Apex court about the action taken against 28 ‘orchestra bars’ in Mumbai. (File)

The licences issued to three bars in the city, on condition that they would comply with the stringent norms of the state authorities within 60 days, have lapsed, the state will tell the Supreme Court during its hearing on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court ordered the state to give conditional licences to eight bars in the city on May 9. While Aero Punjab and Sai Prasad in Andheri and Indiana at Tardeo were granted licences against a deposit of Rs2 lakh each, the owners of five other bars – Ratna Park, Durga Prasad, Guddi (all at Andheri), Huma Palace, Mulund and Natraj at Tilak Nagar -- did not approach the authorities.

“The three bars had to fulfill our conditions and submit a compliance report last week, when the 60-day period ended. But they failed to do so. Consequently, their licences have lapsed,” said an official form the home department.

The state will also inform the Apex court about the action taken against 28 ‘orchestra bars’ in Mumbai.

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 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.

Bharat Thakur, chairman of dance bar cell of AHAAR, said, “The new rules are so stringent that they cannot be fulfilled in any case. The rules related to timing, ban on liquor and hefty fines are imposed so the bars don’t reopen. We are demanding a stay on the new rules.”

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