The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on 12 April 2016 unanimously passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill 2016. The bill has provisions for stringent actions against the violators.State Legislative Council cleared the Bill on 11 April 2016 which paved the way for reopening of the dance bars.Maharastra State Home Minister Ram Shinde tabled the Bill in the Assembly and it was passed unanimously without debate.
Features of the Bill
• The new Bill fixes accountability on the owner in case of violation of rules, exploitation of women employees, or in cases of obscenity.
• There will be prison upto five years and fines of up to 25000 rupees if the bar owners or operators violate the rules.
• According to the new conditions, dance bars must be at least a kilometre from any education or religious institution, their timings restricted between 6 PM and 11:30 PM, and liquor not to be served in the performance area.
• It bans running bars in the residential buildings and permits them in semi-residential ones only if the three-fourths residents consent.
• It also has a provision to repeal amendments to Section 33 (A) of the Maharashtra Police Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court struck down two amendments through which the Maharashtra government banned dance bars during its hearings between October 2015 and March 2016.However, the court clarified the Maharashtra government has power to contain obscenity and safeguard women who work at the bars.With this, the Maharashtra Cabinet decided to bring in a new law to regulate dance bars.