A year after the Supreme Court cancelled a ban on dance bars in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government wants to re-introduce a ban on dance bars in the state’s capital.
The Maharashtra cabinet has reportedly approved a new law to impose the ban in the country’s financial capital and other parts of the state.
In July last year, the Supreme Court allowed hundreds of premises which employ women to dance and entertain customers to reopen.
Sources say the proposal cleared by the cabinet asks for a ban on dance bars in three and five-star hotels.
In 2005, the Mumbai Police had banned dance performances in Maharashtra in bars but cleared them for “elite establishments” and hotels that were of three-star standard or higher.
That decision was declared unconstitutional by the Bombay High Court in 2006.
The verdict was then challenged by the state government which branded the bars in Mumbai as dens of iniquity and fronts for prostitution. It claimed they corrupted the young and were meeting places for criminals.
Bar owners, activists and non-governmental organizations hotly contest those allegations, saying the establishments only staged dance shows.
The estimated 700 establishments across Maharashtra state employ more than 75,000 women who perform Bollywood-style dance routines and get showered with cash in return.
The dancers’ labour union had opposed the ban, saying many of its members would be forced into prostitution to earn a living.