Mumbai: After the Supreme Court (SC) struck down its decision to ban dance bars, a defiant RR Patil, state home minister, said the government will take legal measures to ensure that the bars don’t restart.
“Lawyers will study the verdict and decide on whether we need to file a review petition, approach the full bench (of the SC) or pass a new law in the legislature,” said Patil, who became popular among the middle class after the 2006 decision on the ban.
Patil denied that the ruling was a setback to him and added that the government will lay down its future course of action during the ongoing Monsoon Session.
“The state’s stance today is the same as it was when it made the law… The general sentiment in Maharashtra is that dance bars must be banned,” said Patil, adding that women’s organisations and NGOs had approached him after the order, seeking that these establishments continue to be proscribed.
Patil said he noted how people staying in buildings which housed the bars were inconvenienced by anti-social elements and policemen were seeking transfers to areas with dance bars. Women organisations had also called for the over 1,200 such bars in Maharashtra to be banned.
“These people were corrupting the system, that was one of the reasons for the ban,” he said.
Patil rejected contentions that the state had fallen short in defending its stance in the courts and added that a committee consisting of senior officials and experts drafted the law. The government had hired top legal brains to plead the case in courts. The law had also been approved unanimously by both Houses of the legislature in 2006.
Patil admitted that though the state had, through the women and child development department, declared a scheme to rehabilitate bar girls through vocational training and skill development, no one applied for it.
The issue was raised in the legislative council by leader of the opposition Vinod Tawde, and MLCs across party lines.