A month after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis publicly said that the state government will frame rules in a way to ensure that dance bars cannot operate the new rules may already be showing effect.
The police, acting on the basis of the rules framed by the state government, have rejected applications by a total of 154 establishments which wanted to reopen as dance bars in the city alone.
The information is a part of an affidavit filed by the police in the Supreme Court, which is hearing an ongoing petition filed by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHAR) against the state government over the ban on dance bars.
Both, bar dancers and bar owners, have alleged that the state government’s rules are impractical and will ensure that dance bars can’t operate cleanly.
According to the affidavit, the Mumbai police received a total of 154 applications from hoteliers across the city, seeking permission to start operating dance bars as per the Supreme Court’s order on March 3, this year, asking the cops to start issuing licenses for such outlets within 10 days. The affidavit filed by deputy commissioner of police (headquarters-1) Pradip Sawant said that none of the bars could fulfil all the 26 conditions set by the state government.
Sawant, in his affidavit, said that none of the applications could fulfil three conditions-no-objection certificates by the fire brigade and the civic health department, a stage performances scrutiny board (SPSB) license as well as getting a police record certifying the non-criminal antecedents of all employees of the bar.
Of the 154, Sawant said only 39 offered physical inspection of the premises while the rest did not do so. “Eight applications submitted more than one application saying that they were not in a position to comply with all permissions and hence, their application must be kept aside,” the affidavit said.
However, the bar owners have to offer a different story. “We are going to challenge this reply in the court and expose the government and how it’s lying to the court,” said Bharat Thakur, chairperson of AHAR’s sub-committee on dance bars. Thakur said that the owners were planning to offer a point-wise rebuttal to the government’s claims that the bar owners hadn’t complied with the conditions.
“The health department writes to us saying that they have no role in this process. The SPSB, meanwhile, says that they can only give us licence after we get a dance bar licences,” Thakur said.
Adding on, he said that the police would refuse to verify the criminal antecedents of their employees, despite repeated requests by bar owners.