Other States

Better to dance in bars than beg on streets: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the Maharashtra government for delaying the grant of licences to hotels and bars in the State to conduct dance performances, saying that it is better for women to dance professionally on a platform rather than beg on the streets or get into other “undesirable means of livelihood”.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said the State should not adopt a prohibitory mindset when the apex court has only asked it to regulate the activities of dance bars.

“As the State, your job is to protect the dignity of these women in their workplace. Your attitude should not go into the extremes of prohibition when you are only supposed to regulate. This is 2016. We are talking about dance as a profession, as art. In case the performances slip into obscenity, it naturally stops having legal permissibility and the Indian Penal Code will take care of the rest,” Justice Misra explained the fine line the State should walk in the issue.

The Bench ordered the police not to ask the dance bar applicants to furnish NoCs from municipal bodies, health and fire departments on the grounds that these documents must have been sought when the hotel or restaurants had started business.

The court, however, acknowledged the plea of Additional Solicitor-General Pinky Anand, appearing for Maharashtra, that the State has to ensure that there is no “obscenity” in dance bars and the dignity of women is protected there.

The court directed all dance bars applicants to co-operate with providing information on any criminal antecedents of their employees to the police, besides installing CCTV cameras.

Ms. Anand submitted that over 150 applications for dance bar licences were received, of which only 39 bars had offered themselves for inspection.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:20:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Better-to-dance-in-bars-than-beg-on-streets-SC/article14257242.ece

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