SC terms new M'rashtra law on dance bars regressive

SC terms new M'rashtra law on dance bars regressive

SC terms new M'rashtra law on dance bars regressive
The Supreme Court on Wednesday described the Maharashtra government’s new law directing installation of CCTV cameras and restraining from serving liquor at dance bars as “absurd” and “absolutely regressive”.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan allowed Mumbai’s three dance bars, granted licence, to start their operation and put the matter for final hearing on November 24 even as Maharashtra's counsel senior advocate Shekhar Naphade defended the new law, contending that the state was well within its right to regulate serving of liquor.He also submitted that the dance bars are public places which can be put under the surveillance.

“It is absolutely regressive going back by centuries. It is not theater but dance bars. We can permit it at entrance only,” the bench said, as senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, objected to the provision, claiming it would have a chilling effect, as the common people will not visit the dance bars.

Naphade again submitted that it was prerogative of the state to take measure as an essential ingredient of the police power. What we are saying is that the CCTV records can be maintained for 30 days, which the police can use if something goes wrong, he said.

He also countered Bhushan’s plea that the dance bars with valid licence were not allowed to serve liquor, making them like juice bars. “Can anybody say that he has a fundamental right to serve liquor,” Naphade asked.

The court, however, disagreed, saying, “It is a paradoxical situation that there is a bar, but no liquor is served. Why don't you bring out a law to prohibit liquor in the state? By putting conditions, you have taken out the effect of the judgement (in 2013, SC allowed dance bars), which is violative of Article 19(1)(G).”
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