New Delhi :  The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned the heat on the Maharashtra Government for dilly-dallying on grant of licences to the dance bars. It has directed the state government to issue licences to eight dance bars in Mumbai – which have complied with conditions — within two days and report compliance of the order in the next hearing on Friday.

The eight dance bars will give an undertaking that they would not engage employees with criminal antecedents in the dance area.

A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh dealt with certain pre-conditions for grant of licenses to dance bars and said, “Conditions subsequent cannot be equated with condition precedents.” It had snubbed the State Government last month, saying it is better for women to perform in dance bars then beg on streets or do something ”unacceptable” for earning livelihood.

Maharashtra government had filed an affidavit in the court informing the bench that they had not granted licenses to eight dance bars as it was detected that some of their employees had criminal antecedents. Are they criminals, the Bench demanded, deprecating attempts to deprive the dancing girls of their right to earn a living.

Approve licences for 8 dance bars by Thursday, directs court

The Bench also asked the bar owners which are getting the license to furnish an affidavit to the police by Wednesday stating that they would not employ persons with criminal background.

The court also asked the dance bars to adhere to such conditions as that there should be railings to demarcate performance floor from the area for audience to sit and watch.

On Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand, appearing for the state government, pleading that it is incumbent on the government to protect dignity of women and ensure there is no “obscenity” in dance bars, the Bench said it was certainly the government’s duty to curb obscenity, but it should not target a profession of dance while doing so. The ASG said that over 150 applications for grant of licences have been received, but only 39 offered themselves for inspection.

CM SURPRISED, PLEADS CASE

Mumbai :  Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said he was surprised at the Supreme Court directive to his state government to give licences to eight dance bars within two days. “I am surprised by the Supreme Court directive. Since the state has repealed the old Act, now permission can only be given under the new Act. If the hotels or restaurants which have asked for licences do not comply with the conditions of the Act, would it be legal to grant them licence,” he asked reporters. “The court order fails to appreciate the legislative competence of the state legislature which has unanimously enacted a law. If somebody complies with all the conditions under this law, the state will issue the licence but how can the state act against the provisions of the law which it has enacted,” Fadnavis asked. “If the state in any eventuality acts contrary to the law to deny the licence, the aggrieved person is at liberty to approach the high court,” the Chief Minister added. “The state government will once again put this view in front of the honourable Supreme Court,” he said.

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