SEATING arrangements are being given the final touches, lights are being re-positioned, and applications from…
MUMBAI: Mumbai police have rejected applications filed by 154 establishments wanting to operate dance bars in the city, on the grounds that they do not meet conditions laid down by the state legislative assembly.
In a bill passed earlier this month, the state assembly had laid down several riders if the dance bars were to begin operations again. However, bar owners had termed the rules as impractical. Some of the conditions in the new rulebook include: no alcohol to be served in the bar, no smoking in the bar premises, a three-feet long railing separating the dance floor and seating area, a five-feet distance between the railing and customers, only four performers allowed on stage, among other conditions.
Filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court in connection with the petition filed by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHAR), the Mumbai police said that none of the applications received fulfilled the 26 conditions mentioned in the bill, Hindustan Times reported. Deputy commissioner of police (headquarters-1) Pradip Sawant said that out of 154 applications, only 39 were willing to let the police conduct a physical inspection of their premises. Also, none of the bars had a no-objection certificate by the fire brigade and the civic health department, a stage performances scrutiny board (SPSB) license and clearance from police certifying the non-criminal antecedents of all employees, the report said.
However, the bar owners claim that their efforts to comply with the conditions have not been successful. Bharat Thakur, chairperson of AHAR’s sub-committee on dance bars told the daily that while the health department distanced themselves from their role in the process, the SPSB said licenses could be issued only after they have a dance bar license. He also said that police refused to check the criminal background, if any, of their employees.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had struck down the total ban on dance bars, while upholding the right of bar dancers to follow their profession, directing the Maharashtra government to grant licenses to these establishments.