Moral Policing Going On In The State, SC On Dance Bars Not Getting Licence In Maharashtra
- IWB Post
- August 10, 2018
“It seems like total moral policing is going on in the state,” said the Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on Thursday to the Maharashtra Government on not granting licenses to even a single dance bar even after the SC’s orders.
In 2005, the Maharashtra government had put 75,000 dancers out of work and even pushed many of them into prostitution after it imposed a ban on dance bars. The law – the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act, 2016 – was framed two years after the SC ruled that dance bars should be allowed and the workers to be treated as professionals. Under it, dance bar owners would need to shut shop by 11.30 pm and are barred from operating within a one-kilometer radius of religious and educational establishments.
Since then, the law has been challenged by hotel and restaurant owners, bar girls, and petitions filed against it as the law imposed restrictions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in the state.
The petitions were reviewed on Wednesday by the SC in its final hearing in which the state government had defended the new law as, according to them, such dances “were derogatory to the dignity of women and were likely to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality”.
On behalf of the state, lawyers Shekhar Naphade and Nishant R Katneshwarkar, said that 81 applicants had applied for licenses to run dance bars but none of them had clearances.
The bench said that with time the definition of obscenity has changed and even live-in relationships are accepted in society now.
In response to it, lawyer Shekhar Naphade said that traditional families still won’t allow their children to go to dance bars even though the society may have changed. The hearing is scheduled to continue on August 23.