Mumbai: The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association, which had challenged the 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars and some other places, today welcomed the Supreme Court order staying operation of the amendment.
"The way Maharashtra government had put a blanket ban by sidelining all the rules, we were sure to win and that's what Supreme Court has upheld our view today," Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) member Manjit Singh Sethi said.
"The attitude of the government towards us was so biased that when in 2014 the ban was lifted, we applied to renew our license but that too was quashed," he alleged.
When asked what would be his further course of action, Singh said, "First we would wait for the details of the Supreme Court order and then decide. But prior to that, we would reapply before the state government and police authorities for the endorsement of licence to run dance bars."
Meanwhile, the Bar Girls' Association cautiously welcomed the decision and said it now hopes for a suitable, quick and positive action from the present state government.
"We have not forgotten that when a blanket ban on dance bars was imposed by flouting all our rights, the present government led by BJP, which was in opposition those days, had supported the ban," Bar Girls' Association general secretary Varsha Kale said.
"We have pinned our hopes on the final verdict and the current verdict is only an interim one which has put some riders while lifting the ban," she pointed out.
The Supreme Court today stayed the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars and some other places, paving the way for reopening of dance bars across the state.
The court, however, added a rider to its interim order and allowed the licensing authorities in the state to regulate indecent dance performances at bars and other places.
The state Assembly had in June 2014 passed the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Bill which prevented licenses for dance performances in three star and five star hotels. The ban also covered drama theatres, cinema halls, auditoriums, sports clubs and gymkhanas, where entry is restricted only to members.
The 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Act was challenged by the Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association and others before the apex court.