New Delhi/Nagpur: The Supreme Court today asked the Maharashtra government to follow its orders and stated that it should start issuing fresh licences to dance bars within two weeks.
Earlier, the apex court on Monday, 23 November had heard the Maharashtra government’s petition seeking reversal of SC’s interim order staying the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act banning dance performances at bars and some other places, claiming that reopening of dance bars would increase crime.
The plea was filed to challenge the apex court’s decision that had paved the way for reopening of dance bars across Maharashtra.
Vinod Patil, President of the RR Patil foundation had said, “Appeals against ban on dance bars by Hotel and Restaurant Associations and owners before the Supreme Court were not properly represented by the Maharashtra government, which has not put its stand against the ban.”
Referring to the judicial pronouncements in the case and subsequent amendment in the state law, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla Chandra Pant had last month said “We think it appropriate to stay provisions of section 33(A)(1) of the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Act.”
The apex court order had come on the petition filed by Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association. The Maharashtra government had amended the 2005 Bombay Police Act, which was challenged in high court by the association.
The Bombay High Court on 12 April, 2006 had quashed the government’s decision and declared the provision unconstitutional, saying it was against Article 19(1)(g) (to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of the Constitution.
However, the state government had moved the apex court against the high court’s order that same year.
On 16 July, 2013, the SC had upheld the Bombay High Court verdict quashing state government’s order, saying the ban violated the constitutional right to earn a living.
The state assembly had on 13 June, 2014 passed the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Bill which prevented licenses for dance performances in three-star and five-star hotels. The ban also covered drama theatres, cinema halls, auditoriums, sports clubs and gymkhanas, where entry is restricted only to members.