The State Cabinet on Thursday approved a new Bill to re-impose the ban on dance bars in Maharashtra. The ban now extends to three star and five star hotels which were not included in the previous restrictions.
Harshavardhan Patil, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs assured that the new bill will be introduced in the Parliamentary Assembly on Friday and subsequently referred to a Select Committee for discussion.
The dance bars were banned by the Maharashtra government in the year 2005. However, the Bombay High Court lifted the ban terming it as ‘unconstitutional’. Further, the Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2013, saying that it violated the fundamental right to livelihood. Since the ban allowed dancing only in luxury hotels, the Supreme Court felt that it was discriminatory.
But, the new Bill will disallow dancing in cultural festivals and events, even in luxury hotels.
According to Sanmitra Prabha Desai, the chairperson of women’s group, the Supreme Court lifted the bill as it approved the fundamental right of the bar dancers to work in the entertainment industry. Extending the bill to luxury hotels does not address the support of the Supreme Court. The chairperson had already filed a petition against the ban in the High Court.
She also pointed out that the dancers were pushed to poverty as they lost their source of livelihood after the ban was imposed. The chairperson further added that it’s hypocritical on the part of the state to allow dancing in Bollywood, but not in dance bars