The Maharashtra Assembly passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill without any debate on Tuesday, reported PTI. The Bill paves the way dance bars to be reopened in Maharashtra, 11 years after the Maharashtra government had banned the establishments in 2005.
According to the new Bill, dance bars must be located at least one kilometre away from any educational or religious institution, and cannot be housed in residential buildings. Dance bars can be open only between 6 pm and 11.30 pm, and liquor cannot be served in the performance area.
The Bill fixes accountability on owners of dance bars if rules are violated, women employees are exploited, or in cases of obscenity. Violators face a prison term of a maximum of five years and fines up to Rs 25,000.
The Supreme Court had earlier ordered the Maharashtra government to issue licences to dance bars by March 15. The court had also refused to allow the Maharashtra goverment’s demand that CCTVs be installed in each bar, with a live feed to the nearest police station. The apex court said the CCTVs would be a violation of privacy. In October last year, the Supreme Court had stayed a state law that banned dance bars in the state.