Better for women to perform at dance bars than beg on streets: SC rebukes Maha govt
New Delhi: Condemning the Maharashtra government’s rules that prohibit opening of dance bars within a distance of 1km from educational institutions, the Supreme Court today censured the Maharashtra government saying it was better for women to perform at dance bars rather than begging on streets.
“Dance is a profession. If it is obscene, then it loses its legal sanctity. However, the government regulatory measures can't be prohibitory," the SC warned the Devendra Fadnavis government against overstepping its powers by defying the apex court order.
"It's better for women to perform in dance bars than begging on streets or indulging in unacceptable activities," the SC further said.
Earlier this month, the Maharashtra Assembly has unanimously passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill, paving the way for reopening of the dance bars with provisions for stringent actions against the violators.
According to the new conditions, dance bars must be at least a kilometre from any education or religious institution, their timings restricted between 6 PM and 11.30 PM, and liquor not to be served in the performance area. The Bill also banned running bars in the residential buildings and permits them in semi-residential ones only if the three-fourths residents consent.
The new Bill also fixed accountability on the owner in case of violation of rules, exploitation of women employees, or in cases of obscenity. Owners or operators face up to up to 5 years in jail and fines of up to Rs 25,000 for violations.
The Supreme Court, during hearings between October 2015 and March 2016, struck down two amendments through which the Maharashtra government banned dance bars. The court, however, clarified the Maharashtra government has the power to contain 'obscenity' and safeguard women who work at the bars.