Cabinet to form sub-panel to study new dance bar law
The state cabinet on Thursday decided to tame the challenge posed by the apex court, which scrapped the ban on dance bars in Maharashtra, by framing a new law.
Until it is passed, the state government has decided to delay licence applications, taking care not to reject them either as it could give the concerned parties cause to move the courts again.
After a heated debate on how the judiciary could dictate terms to the legislature, which was thinking of public welfare, the cabinet will now have a sub- committee to study the new law and ensure it stands the scrutiny of higher courts.
The law and judiciary department, in association with the home department, made a presentation to the cabinet on some salient features of the new law, such as doing away with the discrimination between standalone bars and starred hotels.
It also made a strong pitch on the social agenda and the law and order situation dance bars could create if allowed to run again.
A senior minister said the cabinet spent considerable time on debating the judiciary’s role in defeating the very purpose of public welfare.
“It is common knowledge that dance bars affected families because their breadwinners spent money on such entertainment,” he said.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar will decide the formation of the sub-committee in the coming days and make the legislature aware of the next move.
Sources said it is impossible to bring the new law in the ongoing session of the legislature.
“But then, we can always promulgate an ordinance and get the law passed in the winter session,” said a senior officer.
Till then, the government will not allow any dance bar to open by delaying licences.
The departments concerned have been flooded with applications from dance bar owners, but they are neither processing them, but not rejecting them either since that would offer the applicants an opportunity to move the courts again.