HC lifts ban on M'rashtra dance bars
State govt has been given 8 weeks to file an appeal. Do you welcome the verdict?india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 12:56 IST
Terming it as unconstitutional, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday struck down a Maharashtra government ordinance that bans dance bars in the state.
The ordinance was quashed by Justice FI Rebello and Justice Roshan Dalvi who heard a bunch of petitions challenging the government's decision to ban dance bars.
However, the judges gave eight weeks' time to the state government to file an appeal against the verdict.
The petitions challenging the ban were filed by bar owners, bar dancers, women activists and NGOs.
Dance bars were banned from August 15 last year by an amendment introduced by the state government in Mumbai Police Act.
The newly-introduced provision banned the holding of a dance performance of any kind in an eating house, permit room or beer bar and prescribed three years jail and fine up to Rs 2,00,000 for those found violating the rules.
The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) claimed in the court that the ban had affected about 2,500 establishments in the state and left around 75,000 bar dancers unemployed.
The state government justified the ban on the ground of immorality saying most of the dance bars had become pick up joints for prostitution business.
The state countered the argument of dance bar owners that the ban violated fundamental rights of bar dancers saying the girls do not have a free choice of becoming bar dancers as most of them being lured to profession by middlemen with job promises.
However, AHAR and Bar Owners Association argued that the ban was discriminatory.