SC lifts ban on dance bars in Maharashtra

SC lifts ban on dance bars in Maharashtra

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Bombay High Court’s order to allow dance bars to operate again in Maharashtra.

On discontinuance of bar dancing in establishments below the rank of three star establishments, a Bench comprising of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S S Nijjar said, “We fail to see how exactly the same dances can be said to be morally acceptable in the exempted establishments and lead to depravity if performed in the prohibited establishments. Rather it is evident that the same dancer can perform the same dance in the high class hotels, clubs, and gymkhanas but is prohibited of doing so in the establishments covered under Section 33A. We see no rationale which would justify the conclusion that a dance that leads to depravity in one place would get converted to an acceptable performance by a mere change of venue.”

The Court further noted, “Our judicial conscience would not permit us to presume that the class to which an individual or the audience belongs brings with him as a necessary concomitant a particular kind of morality or decency. We are unable to accept the presumption which runs through Sections 33A and 33B that the enjoyment of same kind of entertainment by the upper classes leads only to mere enjoyment and in the case of poor classes; it would lead to immorality, decadence and depravity.”

For the past seven years, around 700 establishments and 75,000 women were affected by the decision of the State Government to ban dance bars.

A battery of Senior Counsels including, Harish N Salve, Gopal Subramanium, Dr. Rajeev Dhawan and Anand Grover appeared in the case. Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the Maharashtra State Government had moved the Apex Court against the High Court order in 2006.