Dance bars: Opposition blasts Maharashtra government

Mumbai, Oct 15 (IANS) After the Supreme Court stayed the operation of the Maharashtra Police Act that prohibited dance performances in hotels and restaurants, the opposition on Thursday lashed out at the government for not defending its case properly.

Reacting to the judgement which could pave the way for the return of dance bars that were shut down 10 years ago, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the government was still in favour of a total ban.

“Although the Supreme Court interim order mandates regulation instead of ban on dance bars, the government still favours a ban. We will examine and press our demand in the apex court,” Fadnavis said.

However, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party accused the government of not being able to defend the case in the Supreme Court.

Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil urged the government to promulgate an ordinance and amend the laws after plugging all loopholes.

He said the then Congress-NCP government had banned dance bars in the state as they representated a form of social evil and the move had been widely welcome by the people.

“The government has not be able to defend the case in the Supreme Court properly,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.

Founder of Dance Bars Association Manjeet Singh Sethi, who also joined the legal battle, expressed doubts whether the government would still permit this form of night life to reopen in Mumbai.

“They must shed their ego… Their (government) legal advisors failed to guide thme properly,” Sethi told the media.

Womanist Party of India founder-leader Varsha Kale, who spearheaded the cause of the thousands of dancers rendered unemployed after the dance bars ban, hoped the government would not challenge the Supreme Court relief.

“After the closure in 2005, there was no rehabilitation or jobs for the jobless dancers. We welcome the apex court ruling and hope this government does not challenge it,” Kale said.

The apex court made it clear that the dance performances should not be remotely explicit or obscene.

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