Dance bars can open again in the state. In a major blow to home minister RR Patil, the state cabinet on Monday decided not to bring any ordinance which will impose a ban on these bars.
Bar owners had in the Bombay high court challenged the ban imposed by Patil on dance bars in 2005. The court ruled in their favour after which the government approached the Supreme Court. The apex court upheld the Bombay high court order.
The cabinet's decision is another victory for dance bar owners. Vijay Shetty, owner of Monica dance bar in Ghatkopar and former secretary of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, said: "We welcome the government's decision which was long-pending. This means acche din aa gaye hain."
CM Prithviraj Chavan told the cabinet they cannot go against the Supreme Court's order. "Chavan mooted the idea of setting up a regulatory authority to monitor and control dance bars, but dropped the plan after he was told that it would be a futile exercise," a government official said.
A senior minister who attended the cabinet meeting said while dance bars can open again after seeking mandatory approvals, they should ensure there is no vulgarity on the part of the dancers. "Customers will not be allowed to throw money at bar girls. Also, these girls should not be exploited," the minister told dna.
However, not everyone is pleased. Advocate Mahendra Sandhanshiv said this can spoil the socio-culture of the state. "Many families were destroyed because of dance bars. They were a breeding ground for sex racket and other malpractices. Hotel owners should not indulge in such activities for the greed of money," he said.
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In 2005, the Mumbai Police had banned dance performances in Maharashtra in bars, but cleared them for "elite establishments" and hotels that were of three-star status or higher. Dance bar owners challenged the ban in the Bombay high court which ruled in their favour in 2006. The state government then approached the Supreme Court, but the apex court in 2013 upheld the Bombay high court's decision. Despite this, home minister RR Patil instructed the police to keep a close watch on dance bars.