Can railings, registers in Mumbai's dance bars make them safer for women?

While the Maharashtra government was in a hurry to purge the state of its moral inadequacies and banned dance bars, it had brushed aside what could have been a fair middle path to curb crime and yet let the dance girls retain their livelihoods.

A Times of India article reports that a state-appointed panel in 2005 had drawn up a list of measures to make dance bars safer for women and more trouble free.

However, in a zeal to impose a ban and make a moral statement, the suggestions were hastily brushed aside. Along with overturning of the ban, TOI reports, the Supreme Court Division Bench of CJI Altamas Kabir and Justice SS Nijjar has now asked the Maharashtra government to reassess the suggestions made by the panel in 2005.

 Can railings, registers in Mumbais dance bars make them safer for women?

A dance bar in Mumbai. AFP.

The panel made some useful observations about customer behaviour in dance bars and suggested that the establishments, government pull the plug on boisterous patrons. Recommendations included preventing patrons from throwing money at the girls, erecting a stage with railings at least five feet away from where the customers sit, allowing only eight girls to dance on the stage at a time and keeping a register with proper background details of the bar girls.

In fact, the panel suggested that if any patron wished to tip a girl, he could through the manager.

In its judgement the Supreme Court observed, "A large number of imaginative alternative steps could have been taken instead of completely prohibiting dancing, if the real concern of the state is the safety of women."

While Home Minister RR Patil has declared the government will pull all stops to make sure dance bars don't get back in business, hotel owners have already decided to take precautionary measures in the view of restarting dance performances in bars.

"We will put up a railing separating dancers from the patrons and make sure all rules are followed in letter and spirit," Anil Gaikwad, legal advisor to the dance bar association affiliated to AHAR, told The Times of India.

Hotel owners have said that if the government issues clear guidelines about running bars, they'll follow them whole heartedly. From making sure that the dancing girls don't indulge in provocative actions to restraining rowdy patrons, hotel owners have promised to make sure dance bars don't come across as a disruptive presence in the city.

Read the complete TOI stories in the e-paper here.


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Updated Date: Jul 18, 2013 15:59:49 IST