The state government on Tuesday said it would do its best to ensure that its ban on dance bars stayed. Hours after the Supreme Court verdict, which upheld the Bombay high court ruling that quashed the state’s ban, home minister RR Patil told the state legislative council that the government would file a review petition.
“We are firm on the ban,” said Patil, who was mainly responsible for the ban imposed in 2005. The NCP minister said the government would constitute a team of legal experts and legislators to study the situation and recommend the future course of action.
“We will file a review petition and effect a change in the law depending on the feedback we get from the committee that will be formed,” he said.
If need be, the government said it would further amend the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005, which permits dance performances in three- and five-star hotels, Patil said.
One reason the ban was quashed was the dance bar owners’ argument that the move was arbitrary and discriminatory as it allowed dance performances at places visited by the rich while banning them in small dance bars.
Patil also defended his 2005 decision to ban dance bars. “Women were being exploited and residents of buildings where these bars operated were troubled,” he said, adding that there had also been a nexus between dance bar owners and policemen.
All major political parties in the state supported the ban on Tuesday.
“The ban was passed unanimously by the state legislature. There may have been some legal shortcomings in the state’s representation, but we hope to overcome it. Our party supports the ban and we will take steps to ensure its implementation,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant. NCP state chief Bhaskar Jadhav said “people of the state” supported the ban.
Terming the apex court ruling as “unfortunate”, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said: “The state government was careless on the issue.”
The Shiv Sena too supported the ban.