New Delhi: Three dance bars in Maharashtra have been allowed by the Supreme Court to operate without CCTVs inside, serve liquor and stay open till 1.30 am
- 3 dance bars allowed to operate without CCTVs, serve liquor
- The 3 bars were only ones allowed to operate under new rules
- Maharashtra govt had argued against the relaxation of rules
These are the only bars to have been granted a licence to operate under stringent new rules introduced by Maharashtra earlier this year.
They had challenged the rules in the Supreme Court; the court said today that they can go by the old law.
"Prohibiting the serving of liquor in the dance area is absurd," the court said, agreeing with their view.
Dance bars were banned by Maharashtra in 2005 but were allowed to reopen eight years later by the top court, which overruled the government's argument that these establishments are a "bad influence on society and encourage prostitution."
The owners of the bars were asked to reapply for licences. In April, the government passed a new law that set a 11.30 pm deadline for dances, banned liquor in the bars and ordered CCTVs inside.
The court criticized the no-liquor rule and also the need for CCTVs near the dance floor.
"You ban liquor in the state. You can't say don't serve liquor. Anybody who has a bar licence, you can't say that you can't serve liquor," said the judges.
The Maharashtra government had argued that liquor can't be allowed where the dancers perform, and CCTVs are needed to monitor harassment or any other criminal activity that would need police action.
"It is regressive. It is not a theatre but a bar. You can have CCTV at the entrance," said the court.
The bar owners had also told the court that CCTVs had a "chilling effect" on guests and "people have some right to privacy."
Passing a temporary order, the court said it would hear the case again on November 24.