After SC allows re-opening of dance bars, state may bring ordinance to ensure they remain shut

After SC allows re-opening of dance bars, state may bring ordinance to ensure they remain shut
Won’t hesitate to bring an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating in order to “save the cultural fabric of the state”, senior minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has said

The BJP-led state government is considering bringing an ordinance to ensure dance bars remain shut in the state, a day after the Supreme Court paved way for their reopening.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday set aside some provisions of a 2016 law which imposed several stringent conditions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in the state, observing that there can be “regulations” but not “total prohibition”.

Responding to the verdict, Senior minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the state government is considering bringing an ordinance to stop dance bars for opening in a bid to protest the cultural fabric of the state.

Mungantiwar said while the state government respects the apex court’s decision, it is firm on its stand that dance bars cannot be allowed to operate.

The Minister for Finance and Planning said the issue will be discussed in detail during the weekly state cabinet meeting next week.

“In the interest of people and for saving the cultural fabric of the state, we will not hesitate in bringing an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating,” he was quoted as saying.

“Once we receive the written orders of the court, our lawyers will study it and based on their recommendations, we will bring an ordinance in the next two weeks, making changes and strengthening the existing law,” Mungantiwar said.

Asked if such an ordinance would violate the SC orders, he said there have been court rulings in favour of dance bars. “All parties came together for a law against dance bars. We will do it this time as well,” Mungantiwar added.

The SC quashed several provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016, like the mandatory installations of CCTV cameras.

It also lifted the ban on serving liquor in such premises and allowed performers to collect tips as long as currency was not showered on them.

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