SC permits dance bars with liquor minus CCTV, for now
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said dance bars in Maharashtra will continue to operate under the old terms and conditions that permitted serving of liquor with CCTV cameras at the entrance.
Without putting on hold the new rules that limited the timings of the dances up to 11.30 p.m., prohibiting serving of liquor and installation of CCTV cameras in the dance bar itself, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan said the “persons granted licence should be allowed to continue under old terms and conditions”.
“You ban liquor in the state,” the bench said, taking exception to the new rules that prohibits serving of liquor at the dance bars.
“Somebody has a bar licence and a dance bar. You can’t say don’t serve liquor. Anybody who has a bar licence, you can’t say that you can’t serve liquor,” Justice Misra said told the Maharashtra government.
“You fight for the dignity of women. You protect the dignity of women.”
Senior counsel Shekhar Naphade told the court: “I have a right to prohibit liquor in the bar and it (right to prohibit liquor) will remain unless it is taken away by the court.” Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Naphade also defended the new rule that mandates the dance bars to install CCTV in dance area, saying it was a part of the police power of the state.
“I have a power to regulate and I have a right that my regulations are complied with. The only way I can do it is through CCTV,” Naphade told the court.
An apparently unimpressed bench said: “We understand logically and constitutionally the powers of the police.”
The bench asked senior counsel Jayant Bhushan, appearing for the dance bar owners, if they could make some arrangements so as to assist the police if needed. Bhushan told the court that CCTVs had a chilling affect on the people coming to dance bars. “People have some right to privacy.”