In a bid to "protect the honour and dignity" of young women, the government of Maharashtra has framed a law to impose restrictions on the activities of bars that host dance performances for their customers.
According to a report in The Times of India, the government has told the Supreme Court that bar dancing is "not an art form that needs to be protected and promoted". On the contrary, such activities, the state said, are "vulgar and derogatory" and often a cover for running sex rackets.
In an affidavit to the court justifying the framing of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act 2016, the government has strongly come down on the performances. Not only are these girls "trained artistes", it has argued, but their dancing has very little "entertainment value", bordering often on the obscene.
The law, which demands no serving of alcohol in the areas where the performances take place as also the installation of CCTV cameras in restaurants and bars for proper surveillance of the activities, has upset the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, which challenged it in the SC.
The court, in turn, has called these injunctions "absurd and regressive" and allowed owners to carry on business as usual.
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