While asking the Maharashtra government to grant licences to dance bars, the Supreme Court has come down heavily on the state government's proposal to direct dance bars to beam their performances live to police stations for security considerations.
As per the apex court's directions, while CCTV cameras can be placed at the entrance of the establishment, but not in the performing area. The court has termed the Maharashtra government's rule as 'absurd', according to a report in The Economic Times.
The state's proposal to place CCTVs in dance bars had conjured up hilarious images of policemen watching performances in police stations along with their law enforcement and crime prevention. Defending the rule in the Supreme Court, the government had said that the cameras would help to maintain the dignity of the dancers and provide them with a sense of security, as reported by The Hindu. The government had pointed out that most of the dancers are from the poor strata of society and that most of them entered the profession out of compulsion. However, the judges hearing the case were not convinced by the government's contentions.
The rule on CCTVs cameras was not the only one which the apex court termed as bizzare. A division bench had last month described as 'absurd' the stipulation restriction the number of dancers to four and asking hotel owners to preserve CCTV footage for 30 days, as reported by The Times of India.
Giving three days' time to the owners of the hotels and restaurants to comply with the modified conditions, the apex court bench, comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, said competent authorities would issue licences in 10 days and thereafter.
"We are certain that competent authorities will not conceive of anything to stall the grant of licence," the court said and added that the authorities will "comply with the command of this court and not venture to defy it".
The petitioner Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association had told the court on 24 February that some of the conditions being imposed for the grant of licence were unreasonable.
In 2005, then Maharashtra home minister RR Patil first imposed a ban on dance bars, saying that they ‘corrupt the younger generation and threaten the cultural fabric of the country. However, the three-star and five-star establishments were exempted from the restriction. Taking note of this discrepancy, the court went on to quash the ban. After a protracted legal battle, the Supreme Court stayed an amendment to the Maharashtra Police Act related to dance bars. The court's order on Wednesday had asked the Maharashtra government to implement the order.
With inputs from IANS