Seven years after they were banned, dance bars can again run in Maharashtra with the Supreme Court on Tuesday upholding a Bombay High Court verdict quashing the state government’s order. A bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice SS Nijjar also vacated its stay order on implementation of the high court judgement.
The Maharashtra government had in 2005 brought in an amendment in the Bombay Police Act which was challenged in the high court by association representing restaurants and bars.The high court in 2006 had quashed the government’s decision. The state government had moved the apex court against the high court’s order that same year.
Supreme Court while admitting the government’s plea had stayed the high court’s verdict.In its plea, the state government had contended that prostitution rackets were being run under the garb of beer bars and indecent and vulgar performances, “derogatory to the society” were taking place.
On the other hand, various organizations representing dance bars, restaurants and bar girls had argued that the preamble of the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005, which had been struck down by the high court as unconstitutional, holds that dance performances for public amusement were permissible.
They had also contended that the impugned section of the Act was arbitrary and discriminatory as it permitted dance performances at places visited by the rich and well-to-do sections of the society while performances in small dance bars had been banned.