‘Better To Dance Than To Beg,’ Says Supreme Court

2D73DD3A00000578-3274809-The_Bollywood_style_dance_performances_by_bar_girls_were_a_big_h-m-2_1444944678279NEW DELHI: Hearing a plea on dance bars in Mumbai, the Supreme Court today observed that it is “better to dance than to go to streets for begging or earning livelihood through unacceptable means.”

The observations were made after petitioners opposed to dance bars argued that “what was happening inside bars was not cultural dancing but obscenity.”
“Mindset cannot be to prohibit…we are treating it as a performance of art,” a bench presided by Justice Deepak Misra observed and added that “We cannot decide on subjective morality, obscenity is however defined.The court also said: “This is 2016. Dancing is an established profession. But if it becomes obscene, then then it does not have legal sanctity.”
The Maharashtra government had suspended the licences of hundreds of bars and hotels that featured women dancing to Bollywood tunes in 2005. But after several appeals over the years against the ban, the Supreme Court ordered the state to issue licences from March 15 on condition that certain rules are adhered to.
Despite the Supreme Court’s nod, dance bar associations say, the Maharashtra government has made it “impossible” to get licences.About 139 bars and hotels in Mumbai, and about 1,200 in the state, are applying for licences, according to an industry lobby. Of those in Mumbai, 39 have been inspected till date but not given clearance. Four of these were initially given licences only to be withdrawn later.
The Supreme Court today asked the Maharashtra police to verify within one week antecedents of dance bar owners and workers to allow for them to get licences. It has also asked the Maharashtra government to verify whether the conditions which had been approved by it are being adhered to.
The Maharashtra government, which opposes dance bars on the grounds of obscenity, had proposed more than two dozen conditions for new licences but the Supreme Court rejected some of them, including requiring a live stream to police stations.
Instead, closed-circuit televisions will be installed at the entrance, with a limit of four dancers per bar, a railing around the performance area, and a distance of at least 5 feet (1.5 m) between the stage and customers.

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