State nod to three dance bars, but with con­di­tions

Govt sets 60-day dead­line to meet norms; bar own­ers un­happy, to move SC

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Faisal Ma­lik faisal.ma­lik@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUMBAI: Pushed re­peat­edly by the Supreme Court, the Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day gave a con­di­tional nod to three dance bars in the city to re­open, a day ahead of the Fri­day dead­line set by the top court. How­ever, these bars may not open any­time soon as miffed own­ers are all set to approach the SC again against the stringent con­di­tions the gov­ern­ment has im­posed.

The gov­ern­ment’s nod comes with a rider that the bars have to com­ply with all the rules un­der the Ma­ha­rash­tra Pro­hi­bi­tion of Ob­scene Dance in Ho­tels, Res­tau­rants and Bar Rooms and Pro­tec­tion of Dig­nity of Women Act, 2016, drafted by the gov­ern­ment to reg­u­late dance bars. Own­ers have called these con­di­tions un­re­al­is­tic.

The gov­ern­ment has set a dead­line of 60 days for the dance bar own­ers to com­ply with all the con­di­tion, fail­ing which their li­censes will be can­celled. Fur­ther, it in­creased the li­cence fee from Rs1.84 lakh to Rs2 lakh.

By evening the Mumbai Po­lice is­sued li­cences to In­di­ana Bar at Tardeo and Aero Pun­jab and Sai Prasad at And­heri, the three that paid the li­cence fee. “We have is­sued the li­censes to the three bars af­ter they paid the req­ui­site li­cence fees. The li­cences were is­sued to those who com­pleted the pro­ce­dure,” said Deven Bharti, joint com­mis­sioner of po­lice (law and or­der).

The Apex Court had or­dered is­sue of li­cences by Fri­day to eight bars that had pe­ti­tioned it. On Thurs­day, six of them ap­proached the po­lice for li­cences, but only three could sub­mit de­mand drafts for the hiked fee in time. The ap­pli­ca­tions of the other three are to be pro­cessed on Fri­day.

The rules the bar own­ers are against in­clude those pro­hibit­ing liquor and smok­ing in the per­for­mance area. There must be a par­ti­tion, if they want to serve liquor to cus­tomers.

Splurg­ing of money will not be al­lowed, nor will any kind of ob­scen­ity. Touch­ing any dancer will land a cus­tomer in jail for three months or a penalty of Rs25,000 or both. There must be a fence-like par­ti­tion di­vid­ing the danc­ing area and the seat­ing area. Live or­ches­tras can­not be part of dance bars any more, con­firmed Vi­jay Sat­bir Singh, prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, home.

CON­TIN­UED ON P11

RE­LATED RE­PORT, P3

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