Customers can’t be booked for obscene dance performed by bar girls: Bombay HC | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Customers can’t be booked for obscene dance performed by bar girls: Bombay HC

Apr 11, 2024 09:28 AM IST

The Santacruz police had on March 6, 2018, registered an FIR against 39 persons found at Star Night Bar and Restaurant, when they raided the bar

The Bombay high court recently struck down a first information report (FIR) registered against three businessmen booked for showering money on bars girls when police raided the dance bar in Santacruz in March 2018.

Bar girls at an Andheri West nightclub. HT Photo by Vijayanand Gupta
Bar girls at an Andheri West nightclub. HT Photo by Vijayanand Gupta

“The petitioners are not concerned with the dance performances or connected with the hotel where the dance was performed. No specific overt act is attributed to them,” said the division bench of justice Prakash D Naik and justice NR Borkar while striking down their prosecution.

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The Santacruz police had on March 6, 2018, registered a first information report (FIR) against 39 persons found at Star Night Bar and Restaurant, when they raided the bar and claimed to have found that some bar girls were performing obscene dance at the time.

Also Read:HC quashes FIR against man accused of throwing money in dance bar

Those rounded up by the police were 20 customers, including the three businessmen – two from Mumbai and one from Deolali in Nashik district-- and they too were named in the FIR.

They were booked under Sections 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 294 (doing an obscene act in any public place, or sing, recite or utter any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place to the annoyance of others) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (working therein) Act, 2016 and the Maharashtra Police Act.

The three businessmen had approached high court recently, through advocate Shreyas A Mehta, for quashing of the criminal proceedings.

Advocate Mehta submitted that from the material collected by the police, it could be said that the three businessmen were present in the dance bar when the police raided the establishment, but mere presence at the place where dance was being performed cannot be termed as “aiding and abetting” and therefore the businessmen could not have been roped in as accused in the case.

Additional public prosecutor MM Deshmukh opposed the plea, contending that the petitioners were showering money on the dancing women and thus aided and abetted them.

The argument, however, failed to impress upon the judges.

The bench struck down the criminal proceedings against the three businessmen after noting that they were not concerned with the establishment and hence cannot be said to have aided or abetted the obscene dance performance.

“No specific overt act has been attributed to the petitioners,” said the bench, adding that, “In absence of any cogent evidence, they cannot be prosecuted for the said offences.”

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