Maharashtra legislation to ban dance bars across the state

In a bid to impose a ban on dance bars across state, the Maharashtra assembly passed a law which amends Maharashtra Police Act which banned performance of bar dancers in all hotels, bars and restaurants. In 2005, while banning dance bars, the government had denounced the bars as dens of immorality. It claimed they debauched the young and were meeting places for criminals.

In 2006, a ruling by the the Bombay high court held the ban as violation of the constitutional right to earn a living and held it against public interest. Before the ban, there were around 400 dance bars in Mumbai which employed over 65,000 women and 40,000 men, with the dancers earning up to Rs 25,000 per month. Post-ban, the loss to government and industry was estimated at over Rs 3,000 crore. On July 16, 2013, the Supreme Court upheld Bombay HC decision to scrap the ban in the state.

As per the newly amended Maharashtra Police Act, All dance performances in bars and restaurants across all types of hospitality industry are banned. Any violation of this code would attract the imprisonment of minimum 3 months to maximum 5 years and minimum 1 lakh to 5 lakh fine besides cancellation of the hotel permit. Now, all dance bars’ licenses stand cancelled and will be withdrawn within 30 days. Earlier, such ban was imposed on all hotels, bars and restaurants below 3-star category. Now, the ban is applicable to even the starred hotels — from 3 to 5-star. This step has been made to avoid the discrimination between the ordinary dance bars and dance bars in starred hotels which Supreme Court had objected to.

The law imposes a complete ban on dance bars and dance performances at 5-star hotels. However, family parties in pubs and discotheques, and orchestras are not within the purview of this ban.

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Categories: Constitution & Law