In a major relief to CM Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government, the legislative council on Friday gave its approval to finalise the draft bill to regularise dance bars in Maharashtra.
The Upper House plans to constitute a joint committee comprising members of both the houses of the state legislature for it. The decision was taken after the chief minister convinced the Opposition that banning dance bars was not legally tenable. Moreover, the bill to regularise dance bars will be presented in the ongoing budget session and the joint committee will be asked to finalise the draft in three-five days.
The move assumes significance as the opposition has been against the Fadnavis government’s changed stand of coming up with a new legislation to regularise dance bars, in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s orders.
The NCP- and the Congress-led opposition has a majority in the upper house because of which it was crucial for the government to win the opposition’s support for the purpose.
The state is of the view that dance bars should not be allowed to reopen in Maharashtra. So the government imposed conditions such as live feeds to the police station through the CCTV cameras installed in dance bars, which was objected by the apex court, he explained. “However, the Supreme Court has directed us to allow them to re-open. We have to fight it legally and not emotionally. We want to regulate it in a way that people should stop going to dance bars,” CM Fadnavis said.
He told the House then additional solicitor general Gopal Subramanium and state advocate general Darius Khambatta had clearly told the government the amendments in the Maharashtra Police Act (to ban dance bars) were weak and would not stand before the court of law.
“The new draft is not a law, but amateurish moral policing,” Fadnavis said, reading out the letter being written by the then AG Khambatta on the second ordinance passed by the state to ban dance bars. “Khambatta also prepared a draft to regularise dance bars, which was not used by then home minister RR Patil,” the CM said.