Money cannot be thrown at women in Maharashtra’s dance bars, the Supreme Court said today, stressing, “It is against the dignity of women, culture and decency.”
On this point alone, the top court was in agreement with the state government, which is in favour of close monitoring of the bars that includes filming dancers.
Hundreds of dance bars banned by Maharashtra in 2005 were allowed to reopen by the Supreme Court in 2013. Owners of the bars had to reapply for licenses, with the court over-ruling the government’s contention that the dance bars are a bad influence on society and encourage prostitution.
In April, the government passed a new law to regulate dance bars. However, associations of women who perform at these bars say that the government has made it impossible to get licenses by annexing conditions that are hard to meet.
Today’s case was based on an industry association of restaurants in Mumbai who have taken the state government to court alleging that the law, which is vague in its definition of obscenity and bans alcohol in bars, is tough to adhere to. The petitioners also said that the requirement of CCTVs violates the constitutional right to privacy of the dancers.
“How can you install CCTV in bars it is against our 2013 judgement?” the judges said, setting the next date of hearing for Sept 21.