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Mumbai’s only three dance bars lose their licences

Decision taken after they failed to explain satisfactorily why they were not complying with fire safety norms, police said

mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2018 09:54 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,dance bars,Mumbai police
These three dance bars were among the 150-odd ones that downed their shutters in 2005 following a state ban.(HT File Photo)

In a fresh blow to dance bars, the Mumbai police on Wednesday cancelled the conditional licence they had granted to three such establishments in the city to operate following a Supreme Court order in May 2016.

While two of these dance bars — Aero Punjab and Sai Prasad Classic — are located in Andheri, the other dance bar, Indiana, is at Tardeo. Sachin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), headquarters (II) branch, said the decision to cancel the licence of the three bars was taken after they failed to give satisfactory answers to their non-compliance of fire safety norms in their respective establishments. “They did not respond to repeated show-cause notices to comply with fire safety norms. They were finally called for a hearing on the subject where they failed to produce the related documents,” he said.

These three dance bars were among the 150-odd ones that downed their shutters in 2005 following a Maharashtra ban.

In May 2016, the SC, which was hearing a petition filed by the dance bar association challenging the ban, had come down heavily on the state for not granting a licence to dance bar owners despite some of them having fulfilled a 26-point guideline set by the Maharashtra government.

Following this, the eight dance bars whose compliance report had been filed by police stations in their respective areas, were asked to apply for renewal of their licences. Only three them could file the mandatory licence fee of Rs2 lakh (which was raised from the earlier Rs1.8 lakh) within the deadline. The license was issued on the conditions that the bars could remain open till 11.30pm and no liquor was served in the dancing area.

The SC later modified the closing time to 1.30am and also removed the ban on serving liquor in the dancing area. It also amended some conditions in the 26-point guideline, before asking the government in November 2016 to consider applications of other dance bars on the principle of parity (with the three dance bars) if they adhered to the old rules, till the petition was finally disposed of.

However, the police asked the applicant dance bars to club a fresh NoC from the fire brigade, along with their application, on the ground that the fire compliance certificates of the respective establishments were old, issued at the time of their inception decades earlier. The three operational dance bars were also served similar notices, sources in the HQ (II) said. However, despite several reminders, none of the fresh applicants or the three operational bars could furnish fresh fire compliance certificates. The apex court is yet to make its final hearing on the petition challenging a total lifting of the ban on dance bars.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 09:52 IST