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The Supreme Court today agreed to examine constitutional validity of a law banning dance performances at bars and hotels in Maharashtra and issued notice to the state government.

A bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and P C Pant issued notice to Maharashtra government on a plea of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association which challenged the Maharashtra Police (second amendment) Act which was passed by state assembly on June 13.

The association submitted that the Act violates its fundamental rights granted under Artice 19(1)(g) which says that all citizens have right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

The new law bans all dance performances in bars and restaurants across all types of hospitality industry. Any breach of this law invites minimum three months to maximum five years of jail and minimum Rs one lakh to Rs five lakh fine besides cancellation of the hotel permit.

In 2005, in a controversial decision, dance performances in the bars in the state had been banned, but performances at three-star and higher-standard hotels had been exempted. The government could not defend this discrimination when the ban was challenged before the High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had last year ruled that the bar dancers can resume working after bars get back their licenses for performances. The apex court upheld the Bombay High Court’s ruling that the ban violated the constitutional right to earn a living.

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