Mumbai: The Supreme Court's decision paving the way for reopening of dance bars across Maharashtra is "moral and administrative defeat" of the BJP-led government, Opposition parties said on Thursday.
The apex court has stayed the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars and some other places.
"This is not only a legal and administrative failure of the state government but a moral defeat too," Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said.
"This situation has arisen as the government did not put forth its views in the court effectively," Munde said.
"The dance bar ban, initiated by the then Home Minister late R R Patil in 2005, was kept in force despite many hurdles," the NCP leader said.
"We demand that the Fadnavis-led government, which is completing a year in office this month, should approach the SC against lifting the ban," Munde said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that the lifting of the stay on dance bars was a result of "collusion between ruling BJP-Shiv Sena leaders and dance bar owners."
"People from the Dance Bars Association met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and also Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray to put forth their demand," Malik said.
Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil said "the state government failed to fight the case in the Supreme Court in the right manner."
"The manner in which the case should have been represented in SC, wasn't done. This may have been done deliberately," Gadgil said.
"The government could have used a team of strong lawyers," the Congress MLC said.
Asked what should the government do to ensure the dance bar ban continues, Gadgil said, "The government will have to bring in a fresh legislation in the winter session next month to ensure the ban continues."
Another Congress leader said the government failed to convince the apex court about the "malpractices like prostitution which go on in the garb of dance bars."
However, those concerned (bar owners) effectively put forth the other side, that of thousands of bar girls and other people involved in dance bar business losing their livelihood, due to the ban, he said.