Maharashtra may bring ordinance against dance bars

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI file photo

The Maharashtra government is contemplating an ordinance to prevent re-opening of dance bars in Mumbai and rest of the state in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement.

 "In order to protect the cultural fabric of the state, the Maharashtra government is considering bringing an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating," state Finance, Planning and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Friday. 
"We respect the decision of the Supreme Court but at the same time we are firm that the dance bars cannot be allowed to function," he said.
The Supreme Court on Friday had quashed some provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working Therein) Act, 2016, like the mandatory installation of CCTV cameras in dance bars, besides some others.
The issue is likely to be discussed in the next weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Soon after the order of the Supreme Court, the Congress and NCP, the two principal Opposition parties under whose Democratic Front regime the dance bar ban came, accused the BJP-Shiv Sena saffron alliance government of not taking a proper position in the apex court and diluting it.
According to Mungantiwar, earlier too courts have ruled in favour of the dance bars. However, the political class has been united on this issue. "All parties had come together for a ban on dance bars," he said, adding that the same precedent would be followed this time as well.
According to officials, once the court order copy is received, the opinion of the Law & Judiciary and Home departments would be sought and necessary steps are taken.

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