Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Friday said the government was considering introducing an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating in the state, PTI reported. On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down some restrictions imposed on these establishments under a 2016 law, and said there cannot be a total ban on them.
Mungantiwar told the news agency that the state respects the top court’s decision, but will take action to prevent dance bars from operating. “In the interest of people and for saving the cultural fabric of the state, we will not hesitate in bringing an ordinance to stop dance bars from operating,” he said. “Once we receive the written orders of the court, our lawyers will study it and based on their recommendations, we will bring an ordinance in the next two weeks, making changes and strengthening the existing law.”
The minister brushed aside a question about such an ordinance violating the Supreme Court’s orders. Other courts too have ruled in favour of dance bars in the past, he claimed. “All parties came together for a law against dance bars,” Mungantiwar added. “We will do it this time as well.”
On Thursday, state Home Minister Ranjit Patil appeared to have taken a slightly different view of the matter. “Within the ambit of the decision, we will maintain vigilance so that no untoward activities happen under the garb of dance bars,” he had said.
The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government after the top court’s verdict, claiming that it had presented a “weak case” in the top court because of a “nexus” with bar owners’ associations. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde asked the government to take immediate legal steps to ensure that the bars do not start operating again.