India Dance bars used for obscene acts, stringent law needed, says Maharashtra govt

11:10  12 january  2017
11:10  12 january  2017 Source:   The Indian Express

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“ Obscenity is at upper end of scale of indecency. The restrictions put by the Act , Rules framed there under and licensing conditions are reasonable,” said the Maharashtra govt .

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The Dance Bar Regulation Bill prohibits serving liquor in performance areas. (Express Archive) © express web desk The Dance Bar Regulation Bill prohibits serving liquor in performance areas. (Express Archive)

Defending its new law on regulating dance bars, the Maharashtra government has told the Supreme Court that stringent norms were called for since various dance bars were used for prostitution and indulged in obscene acts.

“It was observed that such dances were derogatory to the dignity of women and were likely to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality. It was also brought to the notice of the state government that the places where such dances were staged were used as places for immoral activities and also as a place for solicitation for the purpose of prostitution,” said the state government’s affidavit in the court.

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The state government recently framed a new law — Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act 2016—putting stringent conditions on bar owners to run their business. According to the new law , liquor would not be served in the area where bar girls performed dance . The rules framed under the law also make it mandatory for bar owners to place CCTV cameras inside bar room and allow them to carry out their business only between 6.30pm and 11.30pm.

Holding that dance performances in bars are not an art form that needs to be promoted and protected, the Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court that such dances are "vulgar and derogatory", which need to be regulated to protect the honour and dignity of bar girls.Justifying its decision to bring in a new law to put various restrictions on dance bar owners There is no art in their dance . Such dances have very limited entertainment value. In such a situation, the possibility of dances becoming obscene to attract customers is inherent," the government said in its affidavit filed in SC.

The state’s response has come to a notice by the court on a clutch of petitions challenging validity of the new law, Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016.

“Obscenity is at upper end of scale of indecency. The restrictions put by the Act, Rules framed there under and licensing conditions are reasonable,” it said.

Highlighting that the dances done in these bars were not classical forms of dances and the young girls dancing on these premises were not trained artistes, the government said that in such a situation, the possibility of dances becoming obscene to attract customers is inherent.

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