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Ruling to reopen Mumbai dance bars

AFP-JIJI

India’s top court Tuesday overturned a ban on dance bars in the city of Mumbai, allowing hundreds of premises that employed women to dance and entertain customers to reopen.

The ruling upheld a 2006 judgement by the Bombay High Court, which said the ban instituted by the Maharashtra state government a year earlier violated the constitutional right to earn a living.

The decision comes amid concerns over “moral policing” in Mumbai, India’s financial capital and the home of Bollywood, where police in recent years have enforced a series of strict measures. The regulations include early closing hours for nightclubs, excessive red tape, outdated rules on overcrowding and an increase in the minimum age limit to buy beer from 18 to 21.

Tuesday’s decision will allow dance bars to operate legally after a forced hiatus of several years, while the state government appealed the high court ruling.