The Supreme Court today pulled up the Maharashtra government for not granting licenses to dance bars citing non-compliance of certain weird conditions and observed that it is better for women to perform then begging on streets or doing something unacceptable for earning livelihood.
The apex court bench sternly asked a DCP (licensing) of Mumbai who had been summoned to the court to “change his mind set. Do not impose prohibition in the garb of regulations”.
“Conditions subsequent cannot be equated with condition precedents. It is better for the women to perform in the dance bars then begging in the street or doing some unacceptable things for livelihood. The state has to protect the women's dignity at the work place. What is this? Why have you not complied with our order. What certificates you (Maharashtra) want? I had told you last time that you must maintain constitutional cordiality, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said while dealing with certain pre-conditions for grant of licenses to dance bars like ‘alcohol cannot be served at the place from where performance is watched’,’ no bars within one kilometer of religious structure or educational institutions’ which the judges out rightly rejected.
The bench, however, acknowledged the plea of Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Maharashtra, that state has to ensure that there is no obscenity in dance bars and the dignity of women is protected there. Dealing with contentious conditions, it asked both dance bar owners and the police to comply with mutually-agreed terms which were part of earlier court orders
The 154 bar owners had complied with nearly two dozen conditions including contentious ones like installing CCTVs at entrance and exit and erection of a railing around the dancing stage, agreed that there will be no showering of notes
Senior Advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, alleged that Maharashtra has not complied with the direction to grant licenses to dance bar-owners within ten days after they complied with the modifications and urged court to summon the responsible officer.
“They gave us licenses and took it back within two days,” Bhushan had contended.
As the bench sought an explanation on the new definition of ‘obscenity’, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand appearing for the Centre said, “We have only said dance cannot be obscene.” The bench then retorted, “That is what we have also said. Obscenity is anyway prohibited under section 292 of the IPC. What is there to bring in a new Act? When will you comply with our previous orders? Dance bar is not like liquor trade. Dance bars are permissible subject to certain regulations.”
Image from here.