Prostitution rackets were being held in hotels and restaurants in which women were putting up horrid and obscene dance shows. It was also found that the girls working for these dance bars in Maharashtra didn’t actually belong to Maharashtra. Having such practices and sheltering these criminals in hotels adversely impacted society.
The Bombay Police Act, 1951 was amended in 2005 to protect morality, the dignity of women and reducing their exploitation which also included trafficking of minor girls. Section 33A was inserted, that prohibited all types of dances in bars or eating houses.
The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court challenging Section 33A of The Bombay Police Act, 1951 on the grounds that such prohibition:
a) It discriminates against women working in such eateries and bars and those employed to dance in three-star hotels and government establishments.
b) Interferes with the right to work and right to earn a livelihood. Thus, it is violative of the Indian Constitution.
The Court held that Section 33A violated Article14 (Equality) and Article19 (1) (g) (Right to Work) of the Indian Constitution.
The Maharashtra government filed an appeal before The Supreme Court which stated a request on the ban of all dances which are obscene and derogatory to the dignity of women to ensure that the right to working for women is not interfered with and there is no adverse impact on society.
The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of Bombay High Court. It stated in its the judgment that the elite has higher standards of decency, morality or strength of character than the others who have to content themselves with inferior quality in the dance bars. It declared that Section 33A violates Article 19(1) (g) on the ground that it interferes with the right of women to work and that it further resulted in forcing some women into prostitution. The Court also urged the government to take affirmative action to ensure the safety of the women working as bar dancers.
Submitted By: Khushi Maheshwari