On Thursday, The Supreme Court asked the Maharashtra government “why it has not allowed a single dance bar to operate and wondered if there was total moral policing in the state”.
A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said now even the law and society have recognized live-in like relationships, which earlier were not acceptable. The top court questioned the state for denial of licenses to dance bars and observed that with the changing times, the definition of obscenity has also changed.
Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade and advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, appearing for Maharashtra, said that all the 81 applicants who sought licenses for dance bars did not have clearances from the fire department, among other things. Questioning the state government, the bench said why it has not given a single license for operation of dance bars even after court’s repetitive orders and rejected applications.”It seems like total moral policing is going on in the state,” the bench said.
Mr.Naphade further said,“in 30 years of his association with Mumbai, he has hardly seen a single restaurant which is fire compliant”. He contended that even today society at large has not changed as far as perception is concerned as no traditional families would allow their children to visit places like dance bars.”Earlier, filmmakers used to show two flowers or two birds chirping instead of showing kiss or lovemaking scenes in movies but now the time has changed”, the bench said in a lighter vein.”People visiting the dance bar may not want to be seen on CCTV cameras or even the bar girls may not want them to be seen on the cameras. This was a violation of fundamental rights,” he said.
The bench said the CCTV installation may not be disputed as it could help in collecting evidence after an incident at the bar.
“The question is whether the dance bars can be considered as public place as in public place CCTV can be installed,” the court said.