Permission Should be Granted to Mumbai Dance BarsMore than a decade ago, the Maharashtra government banned dance performances in bars. It immediately meant a loss of livelihood for thousands of women who had chosen the profession to escape poverty and worse. The Bombay High Court had overturned the ban in 2006, calling it unconstitutional. In 2013, the Supreme Court had held that dancing was a fundamental right. But the political class believes it to be obscene. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the government is thinking about bringing in legislation to regulate dance bars as âthe state cannot permit obscenityâ.
First publised on 2016-03-11 18:21:52
It is a matter of concern that the government is adamant not to give effect to a court ruling and it trying to play the moral police. Dance bars can be, perhaps should be, regulated to eliminate vice. But as standalone places where people come to have a few drinks, enjoy the music and gape at dancers, they are not places to be shut down. The girls who work there come from poor families and are often the sole bread winners. They take up this profession as it is better than to sell their bodies. Of course some dancers do have prostitution rackets running on the side but that is not the reason to take away the earnings of the others, who form the majority.
The Maharashtra government will do well to grant permits to these bars. Let the girls earn by dancing. A close watch should be kept to prevent these places from becoming vice joints. But the idea of installing CCTV cameras is appalling. Doesnât the police force have better work to do than monitor thousands of dancers at hundreds of such bars? A patrol team making periodic rounds and a network of informers, like in prevention of most other crimes, is what is required.