The state is better off accepting the Supreme Court order and letting dance bars function by bringing in stringent regulations, legal experts are learnt to have suggested to the government.
A senior government official told HT that they made suggestions such as including new legislation that tightens up licensing of dance bars and liquor, changing labour laws, providing social security for bar girls and putting a complaint mechanism in place.
The government may now choose this path and make the licensing system difficult so that such bars do not mushroom.
For instance, the state could seek opinions from citizens before allowing each bar to be set up.
Home minister RR Patil, who has been keen on keeping the ban, is likely to review the opinions on Monday, and put the government’s view before the legislature, where the final decision lies.
On Friday, a government official was sent to Delhi to meet lawyer Harish Salvi, and the home department sent a letter to advocate general Darius Khambatta seeking opinions.
“It was clearly conveyed that the state government might not succeed in case of a review petition. A curative petition (filed after a review petition is rejected) will mean a waiting period of several years, which is not advisable,” the official said.
Instead, it was advised that legislation be put in place where the women’s rights are the focus.
The government might ask bar owners to register all the women with the labour department and provide social security.
“We will need to remove the discriminatory clause where establishments that were three star and above were allowed to hold dance bar licences,” he added.
“The licensing, labour and home departments along with the judiciary and the police will need to work out a mechanism to plug all loopholes.”