The Supreme Court struck down a provision that the owner of the dance bar should have a “good character” and no “criminal antecedents”.
“There is no precise definition of what amounts to good character and criminal antecedents,” ruled the court.
In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave go-ahead to the re-opening of dance bars in Mumbai, stating that there cannot be a total prohibition on dance bars in India’s commerce capital.
Noting that no license has been granted by the Maharashtra government since 2005, the Supreme Court reiterated that there may be some regulations but that should not amount to a total prohibition.
The apex court also relaxed the stringent conditions set by the state government for getting a license for running dance bars, but upheld the time of five and a half hours for dance performances.
In its verdict, the apex court also set aside the conditions of the state government of putting up CCTV cameras in bars and giving licenses to the people of good character terming these as vague.
Maharashtra government will check any “untoward activity” taking place under the garb of dance bars, home minister Ranjit Patil said Thursday, and asserted that it will respect the Supreme Court verdict on the issue.
The apex court has agreed to several provisions of the state’s law on dance bars, including time restrictions and no showering of currency notes on performers, the minister said.
“The state has not received a written copy of the court order. Once we get that, we will study it and decide further course of action,” the minister of state for home (urban) said.
“We are committed to abide by the court’s verdict and respect it. Within the ambit of the decision, we will maintain vigilance so that no untoward activities happen under the garb of dance bars,” Patil said.
“The government presented a weak side before the Supreme Court in the case due to the nexus between the government and association of dance bar owners. Because of this nexus, the present situation has emerged,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.