Thursday, February 25, 2016

Don't put absurd conditions on dance bars, SC tells Maha

Feb 25 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Don't put absurd conditions on dance bars, SC tells Maha
New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised the Maharashtra government for putting “absurd, irrational and regressive conditions“ on hotels and restaurants to prevent them from reopening dance bars.The SC had on October 15 quashed a 2014 state law that had stepped around an earlier SC judgment permitting functioning of dance bars. The restaurant and hotel association on Wednesday complained to a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice S K Singh that authorities had listed 26 con ditions, five of which were impossible to meet. Till date, the authorities have not granted licence to a single dance bar.
Appearing for the association, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan said the authorities had asked dance bars to give live feed of all CCTV cameras to the nearest police station for continuous monitoring. “Another condition restricts number of dancers to four and barricading of dance floor from the audience,“ he said.
The condition not only stipulated live feed of the performance but also the entire premises on a continuous basis to the police control room but also asked restau rant and hotel owners to preserve the CCTV footage for 30 days to be provided to the police as and when demanded. The bench termed this condition “regressive“ and said it would also amount to invading the privacy of a person.
“A person may want to relax with a drink in the dance bar and would not like himself to be videographed to be shown to others.Why should he be exposed? It could also be highly embarrassing for someone who has a peculiar style of eating. Why should it be shown to others?“ the bench asked. When additional solicitor general Pinky Anand attempted to defend the conditions saying it was done to curb violence or any untoward incident, the bench said, “First of all you (Maharashtra government) have sat over the judgment of the Supreme Court by imposing absurd and irrational conditions. This is unacceptable.
“On the face of it, this was Maharashtra's constitutional obligation to implement the Supreme Court's judgment. But you have decided to impose absurd conditions to impede the implementation of the judgment. We had said that dance performances in restaurants and hotels should not be obscene. You can regulate but cannot put such conditions that the judgment remains in limbo. “You must understand that dance is a form of art. Only when obscenity comes in, it ceases to be an art. The state must rise above gender bias and permit women to work.“

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