The Maharashtra cabinet on Monday decided to amend the Dance Bar Prohibition Act, to remove a legal lacuna on the ground of which the Supreme Court had struck down the 2005 order of the government to ban dance bars. Sources, however, said senior minister and Congress leader Narayan Rane sounded a dissenting note.
The state Home Department on Monday brought a proposal to amend section 31 and 32 of the Act, official sources said.
In 2005, in a controversial decision, dance performances in the bars in the state were banned, but performances at three-star and higher-standard hotels were exempted. The government could not defend this discrimination when the ban was challenged before the court. The Supreme Court last year ruled that the bar dancers can resume working after bars get back their licenses for performances. The apex court upheld the Bombay High Court's ruling that the ban violated the constitutional right to earn a living.
On Monday, the cabinet decided that ministers in charge of Excise, Home and Parliamentary Affairs departments will review the Act and consult group leaders in the state legislature with a view of amend the legislation and remove the lacuna.
Interestingly, sources said, Industries Minister Narayan Rane argued that any such ban cannot be legally sustainable, and will hurt the tourism. He left the meeting following an argument with the Home Minister RR Patil of NCP; the ban is believed to be Patil's brainchild.
Rane had not attended previous two cabinet meetings after the Lok Sabha election results. His son, Nilesh Rane, lost the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat to Shiv Sena.