New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's Supreme Court on Thursday revoked stringent rules which had prevented over 700 dance bars from operating in Mumbai, the country's entertainment and financial hub. The move was received well by bar owners and the estimated 70,000 dance girls who are expected to return work in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
The court scrapped rules preventing dance bars from being within half a mile of religious sites, schools and colleges. The court also ruled against government plans to force bars to have security cameras installed, or, alternatively, have partitions between bar rooms and dance floors.
However, the court asked the state government to make adequate provisions for the safety and security of dancers. It also ordered the state government to ensure that there are proper contracts between dance bars and the dancers to protect the girls from exploitation.
Mumbai Dance bar matter: Supreme Court allows orchestra, tips can be given but showering of cash and coins is not allowed inside bars. https://t.co/TRGjshwE5U— ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2019
"There cannot be total prohibition on dance bars. No licence has been granted by Maharashtra since 2005. There may be regulation but that should not amount to total prohibition," the court said.
"People at these bars can tip the dancers but can't throw money at them as in the past," the court ruled.
The state government of Maharashtra imposed stringent provisions in 2016 after the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on dance bars in 2013. The state government described the bars as "moral hazards" for society; bar owners were left with no choice but to petition the apex court to intervene as thousands of people would have lost their livelihoods.