Mumbai : Even as the Supreme Court has ordered that three dance bars in Mumbai should start with `immediate effect’ the Mumbai Police has made it clear that these joints will only be allowed to function if they comply with the pre conditions.
The three bars-Indiana, Uma Palace and Aero Punjab- had been given licenses on instructions of the apex court earlier this year. These bars had also paid the license fees of Rs two lakh for starting the performance but the state government remained adamant that they will have to function under the new laws. This was challenged by the bars following which the SC gave the order that these bars should be allowed to function under the earlier terms and conditions.
According to Pradeep Sawant, deputy police commissioner (HQ-1), the bars that have been allowed to function by the SC will have to meet with the basic conditions that had been laid down earlier for them. “These include conditions like there will have to be a five foot distance between the customers and the dancers and a three foot barrier between them,” he said.
However, the only two relaxations that have been made are as per the directions of the apex court, the officer said. “There will be no live feed of the performances in the dance bars to the police stations and there will only be a CCTV recording in the bars,” Sawant said. The second relaxation is that liquor will be allowed to be served in the performance area also, which had earlier been disallowed under the new laws, he added.
It is now up to the dance bar owners to give their compliance report to the local police stations so that the inspection can be done, he said. “These bars already have the licenses and they have also paid their license fees of Rs two lakh,” he admitted. When asked whether these three bars will be a test case for other bars in the city, Sawant said they are at present only focussing on these joints. According to Ramanna Shetty, who owns a bar in Kandivali(W), it was totally illogical for the state administration to say that liquor should not be served in the performance area. “Also, the idea of relaying live coverage of the performance is not required and both these conditions have been rightly struck down by the apex court,” he said. The bar owners are at present looking at the SC order and taking steps so that these places can be started as quickly as possible, he revealed.