Countdown begins for reopening of dance bars; CCTVs only at entry point, says court .
Mumbai: If all goes well, Mumbaikars will soon be jiving to raunchy numbers in city’s dance bars. The decks have been cleared for their re-opening following a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday, which modified several of the stringent or impractical conditions laid down by the Maharashtra government.
The issue has been moving back and forth for several months, with the state government imposing some tough conditions on the reopening of the outfits. Some of these conditions were indeed stringent – for instance, the one that says there will be live streaming of dance performance to the additional police commissioner’s office and that a grill will be erected between dancers’ area and customers tables.
However, in a major ruling the SC said that there is no need for sourcing live feed from the performance area. ‘‘Instead the court ruled that the CCTV cameras need to be fitted only at entry and exit points,” said Adarsh Shetty, president of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants. The court had also observed that CCTVs in performance area will compromise the privacy of customers.
Another issue on which the court has clarified is that even though there will be only four dancers on the stage at one time there can be any number of dancers in the `green room’, which is the place where they take rest during performances, Shetty said.
Further, the apex court has said that while it is fine to have a three feet high railing that separates the customers and the dancers’ area, this need not be non-transparent, he said. The hotelier further claimed that there is nothing like a concealed cavity in the hotels to hide dancers, and they are completely against such an arrangement.
Shetty said that the state government had said that the hotels had wanted them to do a `police verification’ of the dancers before they could start working.”But we have said that there is no need for routine police verification and only if there is a need it should be done in specific cases, he added.
Commenting on this turn of events, Pravin Agarwal of the Fight for Right Association said that the court has gone strictly by the spirit of the law and modified those conditionalities which were not practical.
Hotel owners said that they have now been instructed to comply with the SC directions and resubmit their applications within the next three days. Thereafter, it will be the responsibility of the state government to vet the applications and issue licenses within 10 days. “After we have been issued the licenses, it will take us less than 24 hours to start dance bars,” Shetty said.