My Opinion On The recent Supreme Court Stay of Ban on Dance Bars in Maharashtra

It is heartening to note that the Honorable Supreme Court had lifted the Ban on dancing girls in various liquor bars, pubs and hotels and restaurants in Maharashtra in particular and India in general across various major cities. Millions of jobless dancing girls<!–more- who are trafficked in to prostitution or forced to commit suicides or living in penury cans a heave a sigh of relief. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while granting stay of the ban on dancing girls across dance bars in Maharashtra and other States said the ban is “unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 ansd 19(1)(g) and 21 of the constitution,

Background of the case: The Supreme Court on Thursday, October 16 th stayed the operation of a Maharashtra law prohibiting the performance of any kind or type of dance at any eating house, permit room or beer bar in the state. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant granted the stay on a bunch of petitions filed by the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association and others challenging the validity of the law, that had been reintroduced after similar provisions were struck down earlier by the court.The petitioners sought a declaration that Section 33A inserted through an amendment in the Maharashtra Police (Second Amendment) Act 2014 was unconstitutional.

The senior counsel appearing for the petitioners argued that the provision that was declared ultra vires in the earlier form had come back in the present incarnation, which was the same, and therefore deserved to be stayed. Tushar Mehta, additional solicitor-general for Maharashtra, said the provisions were different from the earlier provisions struck down and the legislature had the competence to enact the amended law.In its order, however, the bench rejected Maharashtra’s stand and said “in the present case, a similar provision has been introduced by enhancing the sentence of fine.

In view of the aforesaid and regard being had to the pronouncement in the earlier Indian Hotel case, we think it appropriate to stay the operation of the provisions enshrined under Section 33A(1)… However, we add a rider that no performance of dance shall remotely be expressive of any kind of obscenity in any manner.”After the Supreme Court’s verdict, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis indicated though that dance bars would not be allowed to reopen in the state.

Bar owners and dancers had bitterly protested against the ban.

Before the ban, more than 100,000 women were employed in some 1,400 dance bars in the state.

The women would dance to Hollywood numbers and clients often threw money at them.

However, the court Said the Government or the licencing authority should regulate these dances with a view to stop obscenity.

The Ban has been in force since 2005 and Millions of dancing girls across the country who dance in hotels, bars, pubs etc became desperate and some committed suicide, and many embraced prostitution as majority of them are illiterate.

Section 33A of Maharashtra Police Second Amendment Act is nothing but a new incarnation of the old which had been declared unconstitutional earlier by both the Mumbai High Court and the same was up[held by the supreme Court.This Act violates Articles 14(Right to Equality before laws and Equal Protection of Laws_ and, 19(1)(1)(g) Right to carry on any trade, occupation,., profession. business etc and Right to Life and Personal Liberty which includes right to earn a decent living through right to decent dances thereby earning money leading to the right to earn a decent livelihood.

Hence let the dancing girls do decent dances as the supreme court stay order stays and Let Mr Fadnasvis Government should not become moral police to shut down the dance bars wholly instead of merely regulating the dance bars seeing that they are not obscene as per the Supreme Court. Let Mr. Fadnasvis government and other Opposition Leaders See the plight of millions of unfortunate dancing girls steeped in prostitution and poverty and rehabilitate them into what they are good at- the earlier decent dances and gyrating to Bollywood numbers..As we can see Fadnasvis fully failed in rehabilitating the unemployed dancing girls in equally good income fetching occupations or vocations in the last 10 years. They have a fundamental right to do a decent dance and earn their decent livelihood. Mr.Fadnavis must remember that he cannot have a cake and eat it too.

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