The Supreme Court’s interim order on Wednesday allowing three dance bars to operate based on the old rules – without CCTVs inside the bars, staying open until 1.30am and serving liquor – brought cheer to dance bar owners across the state, but the government seemed determined to make it difficult for even these three bars to start business.
State home department officials said the three bars - Indiana in Tardeo, Aero Punjab and Sai Prasad in Andheri – will have to comply with 26 conditions to begin business. They said these bars failed to comply with these earlier conditions when they were issued licenses before the new law. Some of these 26 conditions the bars have to adhere to are installing CCTVs at the entrance, keeping permanent barricades , and ensuring dignity of women among other things. The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR), the apex association of the hotels sector that has backed these dance bars to resume operations, is undeterred by the state’s position.“It took us 11 years to beat the ban and it will take at least a week to restart the three dance bars. We have to arrange for dancers as well,” said Adarsh Shetty, president, AHAR. Shetty said all dance bars will start shortly. He said the others would apply after the final SC order, which will come out on November 24. These three dance bars were given approvals in March, but dance bar owners said the government arbitrarily withdrew it after a few days. Officials, however, said the going would not be easy.
“The SC had directed us to issue licenses to bars that had applied to us in March too. We issued conditional licenses, but the bars failed to comply . The same conditions will be in force as the SC has asked us to permit them according to the old rules ,” an official privy to the developments said.
“The three bars will be given licenses as per the old rules, but the others will have to comply with 36 conditions under new law,” said Nishant Katneshwarkar,government counsel.