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8 from Mumbai apply for dance bar licences after rule change

The SC, in its verdict, allowed payment of tips to performers (restricting showering of currency notes), serving of liquor and fixed the timing from 6pm to 11.30pm

mumbai Updated: Mar 06, 2019 08:20 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Dance bars,Dance bar mumbai,Maharashtra dance bars
Bar girls entertain customers in a dance bar at Andheri West.(HT Photo)

More than a month after the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on rules to run dance bars in the state, eight bar owners have applied for licences.

The SC, in its verdict, allowed payment of tips to performers (restricting showering of currency notes), serving of liquor and fixed the timing from 6pm to 11.30pm. It struck down stringent conditions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurant and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016 that made it mandatory to set up CCTV cameras and partition between the rooms and dance floor. The court also upheld the condition that working women should be employed under written contracts.

Sachin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), headquarters (II), said, “The applications have been sent to the theatre branch of the Mumbai police, which issues the licences. They are under consideration.”

The applications have surprised many, given the time restriction was considered a discouraging factor for business in a city like Mumbai, as most return from work late.

Mumbai had 400 dance bars before the 2005 ban. Around 320 of them were converted into orchestra bars after the ban, of which 294 are operating currently. The eight applicants owned dance bars before the ban. “We will give it a try. After all, how long can we afford to be out of business,” said one of the applicants, requesting anonymity.

Bharat Singh Thakur, another applicant, who owned three dance bars before the ban, said resuming business was important than business prospects at the moment. Thakur’s dance bar, Indiana at Tardeo, is one of the three dance bars that opened after the Supreme Court gave relief to owners, although with stringent conditions, in 2017.

Another applicant said, “We can approach the Supreme Court to extend the timings to 1.30am, just like orchestra bars or bar/restaurants, at a later date. The time restriction will also impact the dancers badly.”

First Published: Mar 05, 2019 23:40 IST