As confusion prevails over the reopening of dance bars in the state next week, the government is planning to allow eight dance bars to function according to old rules.
The state government may request the Supreme Court not to allow this to set a precedent for others. The Apex Court will now hear the case on July 7, when it is expected to decide the fate of the new law brought in by the state government to put restrictions on dance bars, which dance bar owners have been opposing strongly.
“All conditions laid in the newly enacted law — Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act, 2016 — cannot be made applicable to the eight dance bars in the present circumstances. But the state government will ensure that this will not become precedent for the others as well,” said Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, principal secretary (home).
“The state government will tell the Apex Court that we have made an unambiguous act that will ensure no obscenity in its functioning and hence apart from these eight, all the new applications of dance bars should be allowed to process as per the rules of new dance bar regulation act,” Dr Singh added.
The dance bar owners have already declared that they will restart their businesses according to the old rules as the Supreme Court has directed them to do so.
Bharat Thakur, president, Performance Bar Association affiliated to AHAR, said they are expecting to get new licences from the police in the coming week as the Apex Court has directed the state government to issue licences according to the rules.
“The licences granted to us were according to the new law. The Supreme Court on Friday, however, allowed us to start operations according to the old rules,” he said.
Meanwhile, state home department officials eagerly await a written order copy from the Supreme Court after which they will decide the line of action.
“We are expecting to receive the order on Monday,” said a senior home official, who did not wish to be named.