Swati Deshpande, SC gives three weeks to Maha govt as last chance to file reply in Dance bar ban challenge, The Times of India, July 24th, 2015. Available at: http://bit.ly/20nplDd

The Supreme Court gives the state government three weeks as a final chance to file its reply to a petition challenging the second ban on dance bars the government had enacted.

The SC had in February directed the state to reply to a petition challenging a fresh 2014 law that reintroduced a ban on dance bars across the state, which the apex court had only a year earlier held unacceptable and unconstitutional.

The SC is hearing a second round of challenge that puts the fate of over 75000 girls whose livelihood as dancers in Mumbai and Maharashta's dance bars still on hold, a decade after the first ban.

But the state on Friday sought more time to file its reply. The SC said it should be the last such extension of time. The court also gave four weeks to the petitioner to file its rejoinder after the reply and adjourned the matter for hearing after seven weeks now.

The petition filed by Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Ahar) and counsel for the restaurant owners Jayant Bhushan and Prasenjit Keswani had on the last date said that the state showed total disregard for an earlier ruling of the apex court when it passed a fresh amendment in June 2014 to the Bombay Police Act of 1951 that governs permission to restaurants and bars to reintroduce the ban. Section 33A of the Act which the SC had in its landmark July 2013 judgement held as violative of women's fundamental rights, was back in a new avatar through an amendment with almost the same wording, said the petitioners.

"Maharashtra's renacted law virtually overrules the judgment. It once again imposed a total ban on performance of dance of any kind or type in Eating Houses, Permit Rooms and Beer Bars and cancelled all validly held Premises and Performance Licences for Dance,''said the petition.