The Supreme Court on Wednesday overruled the Maharashtra government’s ban on dance bars in the state, allowing tips, alcohol inside the dance bars. The Supreme Court in its judgement said that there can’t be a total prohibition on dance bars asserting that there may be regulations but those should not amount to a total prohibition.
The top court while pointing out that no license has been granted since 2005 said that the condition to granting the licence to people with good character is “vague”. While the Supreme Court allowed dance performances till 11:30PM, it categorically quashed the state government’s condition to put CCTV cameras in the bars.
However, the court agreed with the government that the bars must not be allowed near educational institutions but struck down the provision mandating 1km distance between bars and institutes saying it’s not reasonable in Mumbai. Earlier, during the hearing, the court had observed on the Maharashtra government lawyers argument of families never allowing their children to visit places like dance bars, that the definition of obscenity has also changed and nowadays even live-in relationships are accepted by the society and the law.
One of the provisions that virtually made getting license impossible was the provision of granting licence to those bars that were not derogatory to the dignity of women and were not corrupt or injure public morality. The bar owners had contended this provision saying this made bar owners vulnerable.