SC reserves judgement on pleas against new curbs on dance bars

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a batch of pleas filed by hotel and restaurant owners, bar girls and others challenging the new law in Maharashtra imposing fresh restrictions on licensing and functioning of dance bars.

The new law is Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the judgement after hearing arguments from bar owner, bar girls and Maharashtra government.

The bench had earlier said that apparently “total moral policing” is going on in Maharashtra and sought to know from the state why it has not allowed a dance bar to operate even after court’s repetitive orders.

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The apex court had observed that with the changing times, the definition of obscenity has also changed and now even the law and society have recognised live-in like relationships, which earlier were not acceptable.

The counsel appearing for Maharashtra had argued that even today society at large has not changed as far as perception is concerned. No traditional families would allow their children to visit places like dance bars, he had said.

The state had defended the operation of a new law meant to regulate licensing and functioning of dance bars in the state.

Hotel and restaurants owners who have challenged the new law regulating dance bars, have contended that under the new law, the state has imposed conditions of installation of CCTV cameras in dance bars, which was in violation with the Right to Privacy.

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The lawyer appearing for hotel and restaurants owners contended that there is no empirical data to show that bar girls are trafficked or coerced to take up the job.

–IANS

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