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After SC ruling relaxing norms, Maharashtra govt mulls new conditions for Mumbai dance bars

Earlier, the government had claimed that dance bars are breeding grounds for anti-social elements in the state.

After SC ruling relaxing norms, Maharashtra govt mulls new conditions for Mumbai dance bars
Representational image

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court's verdict to relax the stringent rules imposed by the Maharashtra government on the functioning of dance bars has not gone down well with the BJP government in the state and it is learnt that the state government is planning to come up with new rules and regulations in order to stop the re-opening of dance bars in Maharashtra.

Government sources told Zee Media that the government will now come up with a new rule under which the government will inspect the identity cards of those visiting the dance bars. Earlier, the government had claimed that dance bars are breeding grounds for anti-social elements in the state. Going by the government's argument, over 700 dance bars were operating in Mumbai and adjoining areas before the prohibition imposed by the government. It was also claimed by the government that only 307 bars were operating with legal permit and rest were nothing but a threat to society.

Sources stressed that the government is going to make use of this argument while seeking the identity of those visiting the dance bars. The customers will have to reveal their identity to the local police. It is to be noted that the court had also quashed the prohibitions imposed by the state government in 2006 and 2013. But in 2014, days after Devendra Fadnavis took oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister the government put strict prohibitions on the dance bars in order to end this business forever. But the SC on Thursday quashed nearly all the stringent rules imposed by the state government. The SC's ruling is seen as a major blow to the government's plan to curb the activities of dance bars in the state.

The SC on Thursday gave a reprieve to dance bar owners by ruling that the dance bar can organise orchestra and the patrons can give tips to bar dancers. The SC, however, said that showering of cash and coins should not be allowed inside bars. The SC also quashed the Maharashtra government's order of installing CCTV cameras in dance bars of Mumbai.

The top court also quashed a condition laid down by the state government that segregated dancing stage from the bar area where drinks are served. The Court has also quashed a rule under which it was said that dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places.

Senior minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told PTI on Friday that the government was determined to protect the cultural fabric of the state and it is planning to bring an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating. The Minister for Finance and Planning added that a detail discussion over this issue will be done next week during the weekly state cabinet meeting. "In the interest of people and for saving the cultural fabric of the state, we will not hesitate in bringing an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating," he said.

"Once we receive the written orders of the court, our lawyers will study it and based on their recommendations, we will bring an ordinance in the next two weeks, making changes and strengthening the existing law," Mungantiwar told PTI.

(with agency inputs)