The Supreme Court may have quashed the ban on dance performances at bars, but dance bars are not going to reopen in a hurry. The dance bars that closed down in 2005 will need to apply for fresh licences, and the procedure to get them will be time-consuming.
Before issuing licence, for instance, the government will invite opinions from residents of a locality on whether such a bar should open in their vicinity, which will be a major obstacle.
Also, before licences are allotted, the government, which on Tuesday said it would file a review petition, may seek a stay on the Apex Court order until its petition is heard. “Dance bars were usually given annual licences. As most of them closed in 2006, their licences will not be valid and they will have to reapply. Meanwhile, we will have filed our review petition,” said home minister RR Patil. “In any case, the process to get a dance bar licence is long and tedious.”
The NCP minister, who was primarily responsible for the ban, explained just how complicated it would be to obtain a licence.
“After an application is made, no objection certificates are required from the police and the district collector. Then, an advertisement has to be given out, seeking suggestions and objections from the public on allowing a dance bar in their locality. The police will consider the feedback and decide about giving permission,” Patil said.
The police, who are the licensing authority, will determine the radius around the proposed bar that will get affected and then invite residents’ opinion from that neighbourhood. Based on feedback, they can deny licence if the bar is likely to disturb or endanger residents or passers-by or create traffic and law and order problems.
At a meeting on Wednesday, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Patil discussed the possibility of making existing rules more stringent and increasing licence fees to discourage applications, in case the review petition is not admitted, senior home department officials said. “This will be discussed if our review petition does not stand in court,” an official said.