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Will bring ordinance to stop dance bars, if needed: Maharashtra FM

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The Maharashtra government will issue an ordinance to shut down dance bars in the state if needed, state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Friday.

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This came a day after the Supreme Court paved the way for reopening of dance bars in the state by relaxing conditions imposed by the government on their licensing and functioning.

In this regard, Mungantiwar said: “After analysing the Supreme Court order and holding discussions on it with the law and justice department, we have decided that if needed, we will issue an ordinance to stop dance bars in Mumbai.”

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The apex court on January 17 allowed dance bars to re-open in Mumbai, stating that there cannot be “a total prohibition” on them.

The apex court also relaxed the stringent conditions set by the state government for obtaining a license for running dance bars, but upheld the five-and-a-half hour limit for dance performances.

In its verdict, the apex court also set aside the “vague” conditions of the state government for “putting up CCTV cameras in bars and giving licenses to the people of good character.”

Allowing for an orchestra and tips, the apex court, however, stated that showering performers with cash is not allowed inside the bars.

Quashing the rule that segregates the dancing stage from the bar area where drinks are served, the Supreme Court in its verdict also struck down a condition by which dance bars were supposed to be one kilometre away from educational and religious places.

The Supreme Court, however, upheld a rule of the Maharashtra government according to which working women should have a contract so that she could not be exploited but quashed the rule of a monthly salary for bar dancers.

The Dance Bar Regulation Bill unanimously passed by the Assembly on April 13, 2017, prohibits, among other things, serving liquor in performance areas and mandates that the premises must shut by 11.30 pm.

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