The state government on Tuesday hinted at bringing in stricter norms, including mandatory installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, to regulate dance bars.
While directing the state to issue licences to dance bars last week, the Supreme Court (SC) had made it clear the CCTV cameras should be installed at the entrance of dance bars, but the government cannot force bar owners to install them inside.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said although the apex court has turned it down , the government will look at it while introducing the fresh bill in the legislature. “Although the SC has given its ruling, the state legislature has the power to enact a law in the interest of society. If cameras installed in five-star hotels do not invade privacy, they why so in bars? There should be some kind of parity. The first draft of the bill regulating dance bars will be discussed with all party leaders in the first week of the session,” he said.
Fadnavis said the state argued forcefully in the apex court and succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to accept some of its norms. “The SC had raised objections to seven norms, but we convinced it in favour of six of them. We have not given permission for operation to any of the bars,” he said.
The bill, however, has not been included on the list of proposed bills released by the government on Tuesday. The government is ready with 20 bills to convert them into legislations, with approval from both the houses of the state legislature. Of them, six have been pending since the winter session.
State officials said the draft of the dance bar regulation bill is in final stages. “We don’t want to introduce the bill in a haste. Although it is not on the list, the government can introduce it whenever it wants. If the session ends, the state can promulgate an ordinance for it,” said a senior official.
Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition in the legislative council, said, “The way the case was contested in the court shows the intention of the government. If their intentions are good, the government should bring in the new bill to ban dance bars within the next 15 days. All opposition parties will stand with the government to pass it unanimously,” Munde told reporters.
“The ban was lifted by the SC on two occasions during the Congress-NCP rule in the past. We have fought the case tooth and nail and do not want to politicise the issue,” said the CM.