The Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the Maharashtra government’s ban on dance bars has evoked sharp reaction across the political spectrum. The government has announced the formation of a legal panel to study the ruling.

“We are yet to receive a copy of the … ruling. After doing so, a panel of lawyers, legal consultants and legislators will study [it] and submit a report to the State government,” Home Minister R.R. Patil said, speaking to journalists on the Assembly premises.

Later, in a statement in the Legislative Council, Mr. Patil said the panel would recommend whether the government approach a full Bench or file a review petition or change the existing laws against dance bars.

Political parties are up in arms, with the ruling as well as Opposition legislators supporting the ban. Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre said there ought to be a strong law to ban dance bars, while Nationalist Congress Party State unit president Bhaskar Jadhav said the “people of the State” supported the ban.

The BJP and Shiv Sena criticised the government for its “levity on the issue,” which resulted in the Supreme Court’s ruling. While BJP State unit president Devendra Fadnavis termed the ruling “unfortunate,” Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe demanded a clampdown on dance bars and expressed concern at the exploitation of women in bars.

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi said the Congress-NCP government’s failure to do its “homework” led to the ruling.