Supreme allows dance bars in Maharashtra, but no obscenity please!

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The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the operation of Maharashtra Police Act that prohibited dance performances at eating places, beer bars and restaurants.

Noting that the said provision was brought back in the Maharashtra Police Act in 2014 after being held ultra vires in 2013 by the top court, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant said that it is “appropriate to stay the provision” that prohibits the dance performances.

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However, the court made it clear that the dance performances should not be remotely explicit of any kind of obscenity.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s order, the Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis said, ” Supreme Court has said that the it will be the police’s responsibility to ensure that no obscenity is allowed inside these bars. That’s precisely we wanted. We had supported the law banning the dance bars in Maharashtra by the previous government because of the obscene practice in the garb of dance bars. We will study the SC order and issue a detailed response soon.”

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Dance bar association president, Manjit Singh Sethi said that he was ‘very happy with the SC decision’ adding that ‘it is a big relief.’

Maharashtra’s law – that banned dance performances — was very similar to a previous law that was declared unconstitutional by the apex court, said a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant.

The apex court had, in 2009, struck down a similar law saying that banning dance performances was unconstitutional. After that, the state government passed another law in 2014 with similar provisions.

 

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