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Monday, July 22, 2013

Prohibition imposed under Bombay police Act on the dances at Bars, Hotels by way of amendment was quashed by the Bombay High court and confirmed by the Apex Court =the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, whereby Section 33A of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 as inserted by the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005 has been declared to be ultra vires Articles 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.= “the cure is worse than the disease”= Of course, the right to practise a trade or profession and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 are, by their very nature, intermingled with each other, but in a situation like the present one, such right cannot be equated with unrestricted freedom like a run-away horse. As has been indicated by my learned Brother, at the very end of his judgment, it would be better to treat the cause than to blame the effect and to completely discontinue the livelihood of a large section of women, eking out an existence by dancing in bars, who will be left to the mercy of other forms of exploitation. The compulsion of physical needs has to be taken care of while making any laws on the subject. Even a bar dancer has to satisfy her hunger, provide expenses for her family and meet day to day expenses in travelling from her residence to her place of work, which is sometimes even as far as 20 to 25 kms. away. Although, it has been argued on behalf of the State and its authorities that the bar dancers have taken to the profession not as an extreme measure, but as a profession of choice, more often than not, it is a Hobson’s choice between starving and in resorting to bar dancing. From the materials placed before us and the statistics shown, it is apparent that many of the bar dancers have no other option as they have no other skills, with which they could earn a living. Though some of the women engaged in bar dancing may be doing so as a matter of choice, not very many women would willingly resort to bar dancing as a profession. Women worldwide are becoming more and more assertive of their rights and want to be free to make their own choices, which is not an entirely uncommon or unreasonable approach. But it is necessary to work towards a change in mindset of people in general not only by way of laws and other forms of regulations, but also by way of providing suitable amenities for those who want to get out of this trap and to either improve their existing conditions or to begin a new life altogether. Whichever way one looks at it, the matter requires the serious attention of the State and its authorities, if the dignity of women, as a whole, and respect for them, is to be restored. In that context, the directions given by my learned Brother, Justice Nijjar, assume importance. 6. I fully endorse the suggestions made in paragraph 123 of the judgment prepared by my learned Brother that, instead of generating unemployment, it may be wiser for the State to look into ways and means in which reasonable restrictions may be imposed on bar dancing, but without completely prohibiting or stopping the same. It is all very well to enact laws without making them effective. The State has to provide alternative means of support and shelter to persons engaged in such trades or professions, some of whom are trafficked from different parts of the country and have nowhere to go or earn a living after coming out of their unfortunate circumstances. A strong and effective support system may provide a solution to the problem. 8. These words are in addition to and not in derogation of the judgment delivered by my learned Brother.

         published in                                             

                         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.2705 OF 2006

      State of Maharashtra & Anr.                        ...Appellants


      Indian Hotel & Restaurants Assn. & Ors.   ...Respondents


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.2704 OF 2006

      State of Maharashtra & Ors. Etc. Etc.           ..Appellants


      Ramnath Vishnu Waringe Etc. Etc.           ...Respondents


                     CIVIL APPEAL NO._5504_____ OF 2013
                [Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.14534 of 2006]

      Ghar Hakka Jagruti Charitable Trust             ...Appellant


      State of Maharashtra & Ors.                       ...Respondents

                             J U D G M E N T


     1. Leave granted in SLP (C) No.14534 of 2006.
     2. These civil appeals seek to challenge common  judgment  and  final
        order dated 12th April, 2006 in Writ  Petition  No.2450  of  2005,
        W.P. No.2052 of 2005, W.P.No.2338 of 2005 and W.P.No.2587 of  2005
        passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, 
Section 33A of the Bombay Police Act,  1951  as  inserted  by  the  Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005 has been declared to be  ultra  vires Articles 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

      Summary of Facts –
     3. Brief facts leading to the filing of the aforesaid writ  petitions
        are –
           The Bombay Police Act, 1951 (hereinafter ‘the Act’) was enacted
      in the year 1951 with the object of consolidating and  amending  the
      law relating to  the  regulation  of  the  exercise  of  powers  and
      performance of the functions by the State Government for maintenance
      of public  order.
Section  33  of  the  Act  authorises  the  State
      Government to frame rules regulating places of public amusement  and
By virtue of Section 33 of the Act,  
the  “Rules  for
      Licensing and Controlling Places of  Public  Amusement  (other  than
      Cinemas) and Performances for Public  Amusement  including  Melas  &
      Tamashas, 1960” (hereinafter ‘the Rules’) were enacted  to  regulate
      and maintain discipline in places of public amusement, melas etc.

     4. In 1986, orchestra  and  dance  in  hotels  was  permitted  to  be
        performed pursuant to the Rules and such  institutions  functioned
        under terms and conditions laid  down  therein. 
 However,  several
        cases relating  to  violation  of  the  terms  and  conditions  of
        performance licences came to be registered.  
It  is  claimed  that
        20,196 cases were registered under Section 33(w), 110 and  117  of
        the Act from the year 2000 till 2005. 
Also, various cases of minor
        girls being rescued from dance bars were reported during the  said
        period  2002-2005.  
The  appellants  have  referred  to  the  case
        histories from the Government Special  Rehabilitation  Centre  for
        Girls (Special  Home)  of  10  girl  children  rescued  from  such
        establishments under Immoral Traffic  (Prevention)  Act,  1956  by
        Mumbai Police, which according to the appellants, correctly depict
        the prevailing situation.
           The  Government  of  Maharashtra,  Home  Department,   on   10th
      December, 2002  passed  resolution  No.  REH  012002/153/SE-5,  noting
      therein :
           "It has come to notice that prostitution rackets are  being  run
           through pick up points in hotel establishments  in  which  dance
           programmes are being conducted (Dance Bars) and that dance forms
           being  presented  therein  are  horrid  and  obscene  and   that
           criminals are being sheltered in such hotels.  Such  undesirable
           practices going on  in  hotel  establishments  have  an  adverse
           effect on society."

           It was resolved to form a committee  to  make  suggestions  for
      amending the rules to deal with:
           a)    Remedial measures to check  other  undesirable  practices
                 going  on  in  hotel  establishments   presenting   dance
           b)    To prevent prostitution in hotel establishments
           c)    Remedial measures to see that criminals are not sheltered
                 in hotel establishments;
           d)    To frame a code  specifying  what  type  of  dance  forms
                 should be presented in hotel establishments.
           e)    Creating a roving squad to check undesirable practices in
                 hotel establishments and take strict action against owner
                 of those establishments.

     5. Pursuant to the aforesaid resolution, the Committee submitted  its
        recommendations which were incorporated and circulated to all  the
        concerned authorities through the letter of  the  Home  Department
        No. REH 012002/153/SB-5                  dated 16th July, 2004. In
        this letter, the suggested regulations were summarized as follows:
           a.    There  should  be  restrictions  on  the  attire  of  the
           b.    Dancing area must have a railing 3 feet high  around  it,
                 and customer seats should be at least 5  feet  away  from
                 the railing.
           c.    Dance floor to be of dimension of 10 x 12 ft so not  more
                 than 8 dancers can dance simultaneously.
           d.    Customer rewards for dancing are  to  be  routed  through
                 management of the establishment and customers are  banned
                 from going near the dancers or “showering money”.
           e.     Names  of  dancers  are  to  be  registered   with   the
                 establishment,  a  record  kept  of   their   employment,
                 including details of identity/citizenship  and  place  of

     6.  This  letter  instructed  all  Judicial  Magistrates  and  Police
        Commissioners to implement these  recommendations  with  immediate

     7. On 6th August, 2004  the  Chairperson  of  the  Maharashtra  State
        Commission for Women wrote  to  the  State  Government  about  the
        ongoing racketeering to lure girls to work in dance bars and their
        consequent acts of prostitution and immoral trafficking stating:
           “Number  of  rackets  indulging  into  physical  and   financial
           exploitation of girls working in dance bars by forcibly bringing
           them into this profession are found to be increasing alarmingly.
           In the metropolis of Mumbai, the problems of the bar girls  have
           acquired grave dimensions and have resulted even into  death  of
           many  bar  girls.  These  women  are   forcibly   induced   into
           prostitution leading to total destruction of their life.”….

           “Most of the girls working in Dance Bars of Maharashtra State do
           not hail from State of Maharashtra, but come from other States.”
           “In the future this problem in all the probability  would  spoil
           our social health by acquiring  increasingly  grave  dimensions,
           not confined only to Mumbai but extending to  the  National  and
           even International levels.”

     8. The letter went on to recommend a ban on  such  establishments  by
           “I therefore, request you that the system of issuing permits  to
           the Bar Girls by various departments  of  Government  should  be
           stopped  forthwith,  thereby  relieving  the  women  from  their
           physical, sexual and financial exploitation in the future.”

     9. According to the appellant, the seriousness of the issues involved
        is well documented of which the Home Department was  fully  aware.
        The material available before the Home Department was as under:
           a.    Copies of case history of 10 girl children  rescued  from
                 dance bar(s)  under  Immoral  Traffic  (Prevention)  Act,
           b.    Copies of complaints of victims’ families against illicit
                 relations with bar dancers.
           c.    Copies of  complaints  of  Social  Organizations  against
                 dance bars.
           d.    Copies of FIRs of cases registered in relation  to  dance
           e.    Summary of cases registered  under  the  Immoral  Traffic
                 (Prevention) Act, 1956, u/s 294 IPC,         u/s 33(w)  &
                 110 of Bombay Police Act, 1951 during  the  period  2000-
                 2005 regarding dance bars.

    10. Apart from this, a  study  of  the  socio-economic  situation  and
        rehabilitation needs of the women in dance bars was  conducted  by
        PRAYAS (a field action project of the  Tata  Institute  of  Social
        Sciences) in 2005.
This  study  pointed  out  the  relevant  facts
        regarding exploitation of minor girls in  dance  bars.
The  study
        also pointed out that there was presence of the element  of  human
        trafficking in the entire process; and that the environment of the
        dance bars was found to have negative impact on the  physical  and
        mental health of the minor girls.
The study also pointed out  that
        the atmosphere in the dance bars increased  the  vulnerability  of
        the minor children to sexual exploitation. It is also the case  of
        the appellants that independent of registration of offences  under
        Bombay Police Act and PITA Act as well as IPC, several  complaints
        had been received from various  segments  of  society  urging  the
        State Government to take steps for closure of the  dance  bars  by
        legislative action.

    11. Taking into consideration the aforesaid material, the  members  of
        the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly expressed deep  concern  over
        the ill effects of dance bars on youth and dignity of  women.
        Assembly further felt that the existing measures were insufficient
        to tackle the subject.  Just  at  that  time,  a  ‘Call  Attention
        Motion’ was tabled by Shri Vivek Patil in  the  State  Legislative
        Assembly on 30th March, 2005.
A detailed reply was given  by  Shri
        R.R. Patil, Hon’ble Dy. Chief Minster to the same, on  21st  July,
        2005. Taking stock of the entire situation, the  State  Government
        came to a tentative opinion that performance of dances  in  eating
        houses, permit rooms  or  beer  bars  in  an  indecent  manner  is
        derogatory to the dignity of  women  and  is  likely  to  deprave,
        corrupt and/or injure public morality.
 It was evident on the basis
        of the material available to the Government that permit  rooms  or
        beer bars licensed under the relevant rules,  were   indulging  in
        exploitation of women by permitting the performance of  dances  in
        an indecent obscene or vulgar manner. The  Government,  therefore,
        considered it expedient to prohibit  such  dance  performances  in
        eating houses or permit rooms or beer bars.

    12. It was emphasised that even prior to the aforesaid  decision,  the
        attention of the Government had been invited to mushrooming growth
        of illegal dance bars and their ill- effects  on  the  society  in
        general, including ruining of some families.
The dance  bars  were
        also used as meeting points by criminals and  pick  up  joints  of
        girls indulging in immoral activities.  Young  girls  desirous  of
        earning easy money were being attracted to  such  dance  bars  and
        getting  involved  in  immoral  activities.
The   decision   was,
        therefore, taken by the State Government to  prohibit  performance
        of dance in eating houses or permit rooms or beer bars by suitably
        amending the Bombay Police Act, 1951.

    13. The State Government took a conscious decision upon  consideration
        of the various factors to add Sections 33A and 33B to  the  Bombay
        Police Act.
The necessary amendment was introduced in  Maharashtra
        Legislative Assembly on 14th July, 2005.
The Bill  was  passed  by
        the Legislative Assembly              on 21st July,  2005  and  by
        the Legislative Council on 23rd July, 2005.
The amended Act No. 35
        of 2005, incorporating Sections 33A & 33B  in  the  Bombay  Police
        Act, 1951, came into force  after  receiving  the  assent  of  the
        Governor of the  Maharashtra  by  publishing  in  the  Maharashtra
        Gazette on 14th August, 2005.

      Writ Petitions before the High Court of Bombay
    14. The Amendment to  the  Bombay  Police  Act  of  1951,  introducing
        Sections 33A and 33B, was challenged as being unconstitutional  in
        several writ petitions before the High Court of Bombay, which  are
        tabulated as under:
|Writ Petition Number    |              Party                           |
|WP 2450/2005            |Indian Hotel and Restaurants Owners           |
|                        |Association, an Association of various hotel  |
|                        |owners and bar owners and/or conductors of the|
|                        |same, who carry on business of running        |
|                        |restaurants and bars in Mumbai.               |
|WP 2052/2005            |Bharatiya Bar Girls Union, a registered trade |
|                        |union claiming a membership of  5000, whose   |
|                        |members work as bar girls in different parts  |
|                        |of Maharashtra.                               |
|WP 2338/2005            |The Parties in this petition are a group of   |
|                        |six petitioners, who are women’s organizations|
|                        |working in the field of women’s development.  |
|WP 2587/2005            |The 1st petitioner is a trust registered under|
|                        |the Public Trust Act, working with sex workers|
|                        |in the Malvani area of Malad in Mumbai. The   |
|                        |2nd petitioner is the Ekta Self Group which   |
|                        |consists of 10 bar dancers.                   |
|WP 1971/2005            |The petitioner is the Association of Dance Bar|
|Criminal WP             |owners duly registered under the Trade Unions |
|                        |Act, and have as their members 344 dance bars.|
|WP 6930-6931/2005       |Proprietors of two establishments who are     |
|                        |affected by the amendments to the Police Act. |
|WP 5503-5504/2005       |Proprietors of two establishments who are     |
|                        |affected by the amendments to the Police Act. |

      It was contended:
      • That the State  of  Maharashtra  does  not  have  the  legislative
        competence to enact the impugned law as 'morality' does  not  fall
        within the ambit of List II of Schedule 7 and  that  the  impugned
        enactment falls in the concurrent list.

      • That the impugned amendment was not reserved for the assent of the
        President and therefore is unconstitutional under Article  254  of
        the Constitution and also that the State does not have  the  power
        to implement international conventions and  hence  this  enactment
        amounts to fraud on the Constitution.

     • That the enactment results in interference with the independence of
       judiciary as no reasons are provided under S. 33A(2) of the Act for
       awarding lesser punishments.

     • That the affidavit filed by  Youraj  Laxman  Waghmare  was  not  in
       compliance with Order 19 Rule 3 of the Civil Procedure Code  as  no
       verification clause was provided.

     • That the establishment of the petitioners  is  a  place  of  public
       entertainment and public  amusement  as  defined  under          S.
       2(10) and 2(9) respectively and not an "eating place" under S.2(5A)
       of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1951 and hence the provisions do not
       bind the petitioners.

     • That S. 33A and 33B are arbitrary under Article 14 as they  provide
       for different standards of morality to  institutions  with  similar
       activities and that the activities in  S.  33A  establishments  are
       less obscene but nonetheless the classification bears no  nexus  to
       the object of the Amendment.

     • That S. 33A is violative of Article  15  on  the  basis  of  gender
       discrimination as the dancers are mainly women.

     • That there is violation of Article 19 (1)(a) as dance is a form  of
       expression and that  the  impugned  enactment  is  an  unreasonable
       restriction and it is not by protected by Article 19(2).

     • That there is an unreasonable restriction on right  to  freedom  of
       profession as the State Government permitted and  granted  licenses
       for running such establishments  being                          Res
       Commercium and that it deprives the bar owners of  their  right  to
       carry on business and bar dancers  the  right  to  carry  on  their

      • That right to life under Article 21 is infringed as right to  life
        includes right to livelihood and that the State has  not  provided
        for any rehabilitation.

    15. The State of Maharashtra defended the challenge  to  enactment  as
    • That the impugned enactment is covered by the List  II.  Entries  1-
      Public Order, 2- Police, 6- Public Order,            8- Intoxicants,
      33- Entertainment or Amusement,               64-  Offences  against

    • That the 'eating houses' are covered in the  impugned  enactment  as
      they would fall in public entertainment places, as license is issued
      to an eating house, which enjoys an  additional  facility  to  serve
      liquor, wine and beer.

    • That there is no violation of Article 19(1)(a) as  the  dance  being
      conducted is not an expression but a profession  where  restrictions
      can be imposed.

    • That there is no violation of Article 15 as the ban on obscene dance
      applies to men and women.

    • That the several minor girls danced to get  rewarded  with  cash  by
      enticing customers, that led to  a  competition  between  performers
      leading to greatest rewards reserved for  the  greatest  indignities
      which escalated prostitution which lead to registration  of  several
      cases under Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and  under  Bombay
      Police Act. That this led the legislatures to  make  an  independent
      classification of these establishments to safeguard the  dignity  of
      women, and  public  morality.  That  there  are  only  six  exempted
      establishments and that obscene performances are  not  permitted  in
      such exempted establishments. Hence there is no violation of Article

    • That with regard to Article 19(I) (g) there is no absolute right  to
      conduct trade or profession and that the same is subject  to  public
      order, decency and morality and hence the restriction is  reasonable
      and justified.

    • That there is no violation of Article 21 as special  cell  has  been
      constituted by Women and  Child  Welfare  Department  to  train  and
      assist  the  "bar  girls"  in  availing  benefits  of  the   various
      Government  Schemes  for  employment   and   providing   alternative
      dignified vocations.

    16. After considering the aforesaid arguments of both the  sides,  the
        High Court has, inter alia, held that the type of dancing in  both
        categories of establishments differs and while the  difference  is
        not capable of precise legislative definition, it is sufficient to
        constitute  intelligible  differentia.  However,   the   fact   of
        different types of dancing being performed bears no nexus with the
        object sought to be achieved, which, as understood by  the  Bombay
        High Court, was limited to  the  exploitation  of  women  dancers.
        Consequently,  the  operation  of  the   impugned   enactment   is

    17. With these observations, the High Court declared that Sections 33A
        and 33B of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 are ultra vires Articles 14
        and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

    18. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties at some  length.
        But before we notice the submissions at this  stage  it  would  be
        appropriate to reproduce the provisions in Sections 33A and 33B of
        the Bombay Police Act, 1951.

     Sections 33A and 33B of the Bombay Police Act:
    19. The provisions read as under:
           “33A(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this  Act  or  the
           rules made  by  the  Commissioner  of  Police  or  the  District
           Magistrate under sub-section (1) of  Section  33  for  the  area
           under  their  respective  charges,  on  and  from  the  date  of
           commencement of the Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 2005,-

           (a) holding of a performance of dance, of any kind or  type,  in
           any eating house, permit room or beer bar is prohibited;

           (b) all performance licences, issued under the  aforesaid  rules
           by the Commissioner of Police or the District Magistrate or  any
           other  officer,  as  the  case  may  be,  being  the   Licensing
           Authority, to hold a dance performance, of any kind or type,  in
           an eating house, performance, of any kind or type, in an  eating
           house, permit room or beer bar shall stand cancelled.

           (2) Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  Section  131,  any
           person who holds or  causes  or  permits  to  be  held  a  dance
           performance of any kind or type, in an eating house, permit room
           or beer bar  in  contravention  of  Sub-section  (1)  shall,  on
           conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term  which  may
           extend to three years and with fine which may extend  to  rupees
           two lakhs:
           Provided that, in the absence of special and adequate reasons to
           the contrary to be mentioned in the judgment of the Court,  such
           imprisonment shall not be less than three months and fine  shall
           not be less than rupees fifty thousand.

           (3) If it is,  noticed  by  the  Licensing  Authority  that  any
           person, whose performance licence has been cancelled under  Sub-
           section (1), holds or causes to be held or  permits  to  hold  a
           dance performance of any kind  or  type  in  his  eating  house,
           permit  room  or  beer  bar,  the  Licensing  Authority   shall,
           notwithstanding anything contained in  the  rules  framed  under
           section 33, suspend the Certificate of Registration as an eating
           house and the licence to keep a Place  of  Public  Entertainment
           (PPEL) issued to a permit room or a beer bar and within a period
           of 30 days from the date of suspension  of  the  Certificate  of
           Registration and licence, after giving the licensee a reasonable
           opportunity  of  being  heard,  either  withdraw  the  order  of
           suspending the Certificate of Registration and  the  licence  or
           cancel the Certificate of Registration and the licence.
           (4) ………………
           (6)  The  offence  punishable  under  this  section   shall   be
           cognizable and non-bailable.

           33B. Subject to the other provisions of this Act, or  any  other
           law for the time being in force, nothing in  section  33A  shall
           apply to the holding of a dance performance in a drama  theatre,
           cinema theatre and auditorium; or sports club or gymkhana, where
           entry is restricted to its members only, or a three  starred  or
           above  hotel  or  in  any  other  establishment  or   class   of
           establishments, which, having regard to (a) the  tourism  policy
           of the Central or State Government  for  promoting  the  tourism
           activities in the State; or (b) cultural activities,  the  State
           Government may, by special or general  order,  specify  in  this

           Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, "sports club" or
           "gymkhana" means an establishment registered as such  under  the
           provisions of  the  Bombay  Public  Trusts  Act,  1950,  or  the
           Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Companies Act, 1956,  or
           any other law for the time being in force.”

      Statement of Objects and Reasons
    20. The Statement of Objects and Reasons clause appended to  Bill  No.
        LX of 2005 as introduced in the Maharashtra  Legislative  Assembly
        on 14th June, 2005 reads as under:
           (1)   The Commissioner of Police, District Magistrates or  other
                 officers,  being  Licensing  Authorities  under  the  Rules
                 framed in exercise of the  powers  of  Sub-section  (1)  of
                 Section 33 of the Bombay  Police  Act,  1951  have  granted
                 licences for holding dance performance in  the  area  under
                 their respective  charges  in  the  State.  The  object  of
                 granting such performance licence is  to  hold  such  dance
                 performance for public amusement.  It  is  brought  to  the
                 notice of the State Government that the  eating  houses  or
                 permit rooms or beer bars to whom licences  to  hold  dance
                 performance,  have  been   granted   are   permitting   the
                 performance of dances in an  indecent,  obscene  or  vulgar
                 manner. It has also been  brought  to  the  notice  of  the
                 Government that such performance of dances are giving  rise
                 to exploitation  of  women.  The  Government  has  received
                 several complaints regarding the  manner  of  holding  such
                 dance  performances.  The  Government  considers  that  the
                 performance of dances in eating  houses,  permit  rooms  or
                 beer bars in  an  indecent  manner  is  derogatory  to  the
                 dignity of women and  is  likely  to  deprave,  corrupt  or
                 injure  the  public  morality  or  morals.  The  Government
                 considers it expedient to  prohibit  the  holding  of  such
                 dance performances in eating houses or permit rooms or beer

           (2)   In the last Budget Session of the  State  Legislature,  by
                 way of a Calling Attention Motion,  the  attention  of  the
                 Government was invited to mushroom growth of illegal  dance
                 bars and  their  ill-effects  on  the  society  in  general
                 including ruining of families. The  members  of  the  State
                 Legislature, from ruling and opposition sides, pointed  out
                 that  such  dance  bars  are  used  as  meeting  points  by
                 criminals  and  pick-up  joints  of  girls  Page  1267  for
                 indulging in immoral  activities  and  demanded  that  such
                 dance bars should, therefore, be closed down.  These  dance
                 bars are attracting young girls desirous  of  earning  easy
                 money and  thereby  such  girls  are  involved  in  immoral
                 activities. Having considered the complaints received  from
                 general public including the peoples' representatives,  the
                 Government  considers  it   expedient   to   prohibit   the
                 performance of dance, of any kind or  type,  in  an  eating
                 house or permit room or beer bar, throughout the  State  by
                 suitably amending the Bombay Police Act, 1951.  However,  a
                 provision is also made to the  effect  that  holding  of  a
                 dance performance in a drama theatre or cinema  theatre  or
                 auditorium; registered sports club or  gymkhana;  or  three
                 starred or above hotel; or in any  other  establishment  or
                 class establishments which the State Government may specify
                 having regard to tourism policy for promotion of tourism in
                 the State or cultural activities, are not  barred  but  all
                 such establishments shall be required to obtain performance
                 licence in accordance with the said rules,  for  holding  a
                 dance performance.

           3.    The Bill is intended to achieve the following objectives.”
           “Whereas the Commissioners of Police, District  Magistrates  and
           certain other Officers, have granted  performance  licences  for
           holding dance performance;

           And whereas the object of granting such performance licences  is
           to hold such dance performance for public amusement;

           And whereas it is brought to the notice of the State  Government
           that the eating houses,  permit  rooms  or  beer  bars  to  whom
           licences to hold a  dance  performance  have  been  granted  are
           permitting performance of dances  in  an  indecent,  obscene  or
           vulgar manner;

           And whereas it has also  been  brought  to  the  notice  of  the
           Government that such performance of dances are  giving  rise  to
           exploitation of women;

           And whereas  the  Government  has  received  several  complaints
           regarding the manner of holding of such dance performance;

           And whereas the Government considers that  such  performance  of
           dances  in  eating  houses,  permit  rooms  or  beer  bars   are
           derogatory to the dignity of woken and are  likely  to  deprave,
           corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.

           And whereas the Government considered it expedient  to  prohibit
           such holding of performance of dances in eating  houses,  permit
           rooms and beer bars.”

      Legal Submissions:

    21. Mr. Harish N. Salve,  Mr.  Gopal  Subramanium  and             Mr.
        Shekhar  Naphade,  learned  senior  counsel,  have  on   different
        occasions made submissions on behalf of the appellants. Mr.  Gopal
        Subramanium has  supplemented  the  oral  submissions  by  written
        submissions. The common submissions are noted with the appellation
        of learned senior counsel, referring to all the aforesaid  learned
        senior counsel.

    22. Learned senior counsel have made submissions confined only to  the
        issue as to whether Sections 33A and 33B of the Bombay Police  Act
        infringe Article 14 and with regard to the provisions being  ultra
        vires Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution as all the other issues
        raised by the respondents were rejected by  the  High  Court.  The
        High Court had specifically rejected the challenge to the vires of
        the provisions under Article 15(1), 19(1)(a) and Article 21.

    23.  Learned  counsel  for   the   appellants   submitted   that   the
        classification  made  by  the  impugned  enactment  is  based   on
        intelligible differentia, having a nexus with the object sought to
        be achieved. It is submitted that the impugned order suffers  from
        flawed reasoning. The classification made  between  establishments
        under Sections 33A and 33B is not  solely  on  the  basis  of  the
        different kinds of dance performances but also on differing social
        impact such establishments have, by  virtue  of  having  differing
        dance performances and  surrounding  circumstances  including  the
        customers. Therefore  according  to  Mr.  Gopal  Subramanium,  the
        establishments  must  be  understood  in  broader  terms  than  is
        understood by the High Court. According to Mr.  Harish  Salve  and
        Mr. Gopal Subramanium, the judgment  of  the  High  Court  is  too

    24. It was emphasised by the learned  senior  counsel  that  the  High
        Court has failed to understand the  distinction  between  the  two
        provisions and the object sought to be achieved.               Mr.
        Gopal Subramanium has listed the  differences  factored  into  the
        classification made by the impugned enactment.  According  to  the
        learned  senior  counsel,  the  impugned  enactment  is  based  on
        intelligible differentia which  could  be  categorized  under  the
        following broad heads:
           (i) Type of dance; (ii) Form of remuneration; (iii) Demand  for
           vulnerable  women;  (iv)  Degree  of   Harm;   (v)   Regulatory

    25. It was submitted that in the banned establishments, the women  who
        dance are not professional dancers.  In  fact,  they  are  majorly
        trafficked into this profession or have taken this profession when
        they had no  other  option.  Further,  the  dance  is  vulgar  and
        obscene. Women are showered with  money  when  they  are  dancing,
        which does not happen  in  the  exempted  establishments.  Learned
        senior counsel further submitted that the classification based  on
        type of dance need not be scientifically perfect but ought not  to
        be palpably arbitrary. According to the learned senior counsel, in
        the present case, it is not just that the type of dance  performed
        is different but the surrounding circumstances are also different.
        In the exempted establishments, the distance between  the  dancing
        platform  and  the  audience  is  greater  than  at   the   banned
        establishments. This, according to the learned senior counsel,  is
        sufficient to justify  the  classification  between  the  exempted
        establishments and the banned establishments. Therefore, it cannot
        be said that the classification is palpably arbitrary. In  support
        of the submissions, the  learned  senior  counsel  relied  on  the
        observations made by this Court in Shashikant Laxman Kale  &  Anr.
        Vs. Union of India  &  Anr.[1]  wherein  this  Court  observed  as
        follows :-
           “We must, therefore, look beyond the  ostensible  classification
           and to the purpose of the law and apply the  test  of  ‘palpable
           arbitrariness’ in the context of the felt needs of the times and
           societal  exigencies  informed  by   experience   to   determine
           reasonableness of the classification.

    26. Reliance was also placed Welfare Association, A.R.P.,  Maharashtra
        & Anr. Vs. Ranjit P. Gohil & Ors.[2], wherein this Court  observed
           “…………..It is difficult to expect the legislature carving  out  a
           classification which may be scientifically perfect or  logically
           complete or which may satisfy the expectations of all concerned,
           still the court would respect the classification dictated by the
           wisdom of the legislature and  shall  interfere  only  on  being
           convinced that the classification  would  result  in  pronounced
           inequality  or  palpable  arbitrariness  on  the  touchstone  of
           Article 14.”

    27. With regard to the form of remuneration,  learned  senior  counsel
        submitted that remuneration to dancers in banned establishments is
        generally made out of the money which is showered  on  them.  This
        creates an unhealthy competition between the  dancers  to  attract
        the attention of the customers. Therefore, each  dancer  tries  to
        outdo her competitors in terms of sexual suggestion through dance.
        This, in turn, creates an  unsafe  atmosphere  not  just  for  the
        dancers,  but  also  for  the  other  female  employees  of   such

    28. Relying on the report by Shubhada Chaukhar, learned senior counsel
        submitted that 84% of the bar dancers are from outside  the  State
        of Maharashtra. These girls are lured into bar  dancing  on  false
        pretext. Supporting this submission,  the  following  observations
        are pointed out in the same report:
           “Some unmarried girls  have  entered  the  world  of  bars  just
           because of its glamour. Not a few have come of  their  own  free
           will. Many less educated girls are  attracted  to  a  livelihood
           that makes them quick money”.

    29. On the basis of the aforesaid, learned  senior  counsel  submitted
        that the activities that are carried out in establishments covered
        under  Section  33A  i.e.  not  just  the  dance  itself  but  the
        surrounding circumstances of the dance are calculated to raise the
        illusion of access  to  women,  irrespective  of  the  consent  or
        dignity of women, in men who are often in an inebriated condition.
        In this context, learned senior counsel relied on the case history
        of girl children rescued  from  the  dance  bar(s)  under  Immoral
        Traffic (Prevention)  Act,  1956;  complaints  of  victims  family
        against illicit relations with bar dancers;  complaints of  social
        organizations against dance  bars;  copies  of  First  Information
        Reports of cases registered in relation to dance bars; summary  of
        cases registered under PITA Act,  1956,  under  Section  294  IPC,
        under Section 33(w) & 110 of Bombay Police Act,  1951  during  the
        period 2000-2005 regarding dance bars.

    30. It is submitted by the learned senior counsel for  the  appellants
        that by comparison such complaints have been minimal in  the  case
        of exempted establishments. The same kind of behaviour is not seen
        as a norm. Learned senior counsel submitted that undesirable, anti
        social and immoral traffic is directly relatable to  certain  kind
        of dancing activities performed in prohibited establishments which
        are not performed in exempted establishments. Therefore, there  is
        a rational distinction between the exempted establishments and the
        prohibited establishments. In support of the submissions, reliance
        was placed on the judgment of this Court in the case of  State  of
        Uttar   Pradesh   Vs.   Kaushailiya   &   Ors.[3],   wherein   the
        constitutional validity of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act,
        1956 was called in question. This Court upheld the validity of the
        classification between a prostitute who is a public  nuisance  and
        one who is not.

    31. Taking up the next head  on  which  the  classification  has  been
        sought to be justified  as  intelligible  differentia,  i.e.  “the
        demand for vulnerable women,” learned  senior  counsel  relied  on
        certain observations made by one Cathatine Mackinnon (1993) in  an
        article entitled “Prostitution and Civil Rights” which appeared in
        Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Volume I :           13-31.  The
        argument given by the author therein was that:
           “If prostitution is a free choice, why are the  women  with  the
           fewest choices the ones most often found doing it?... The  money
           thus acts as a form of force, not as a measure  of  consent.  It
           acts like physical force does in rape.”

    32. Taking cue from the aforesaid  comments,  learned  senior  counsel
        submitted  that  the  dancing  that  takes  place  in  the  banned
        establishments has a similar effect on the  psyche  of  the  woman
        involved,  and  functions  within  the  same  parameters  of   the
        understanding of consent. It was  emphasised  that  as  a  general
        rule, dancing in a dance bar is not a profession of choice, but of
        necessity, and consequently, there is a demand not  for  women  of
        means and options, but vulnerable women, who may not have families
        and communities to turn to and are completely dependent  on  their
        employers. In support of the aforesaid submissions,  reliance  was
        placed upon Prayas and Shubhada Chaukar Reports.

    33. It was submitted that  the  High  Court  erroneously  ignored  the
        contents of the reports extracted above.

    34. Now coming to the next head: “Justifying the classification on the
        criterion of “Degree of Harm.” The appellants emphasised that  the
        characteristics of the dancing that is  sought  to  be  prohibited
        have, to  a  greater  degree  than  the  activities  that  may  be
        comparable at first blush, created an  atmosphere  where  physical
        and  emotional  violence  to  women  was   both   profitable   and
        normalized.  It  is,  therefore,  rational   to   classify   these
        establishments as a separate class based on  the  degree  of  harm
        that they trigger. Support for this submission is sought from  the
        observations made by this Court in Ram Krishna Dalmia Vs.  Justice
        S.R. Tendolkar[4] wherein it was observed as follows:
           “The decisions of this Court further establish –  (d)  that  the
           legislature is free to recognize degrees of harm and may confine
           its restrictions to those cases where the need is deemed  to  be
           the clearest.”

    35. Reliance was also placed on the observations made in the  case  of
        Joseph Patsone Vs. Commonwealth of  Pennsylvania[5].  This  was  a
        case  whereby  an  Act  in  Pennsylvania  made  it  unlawful   for
        unnaturalised foreign born residents to kill wild game, except  in
        defence of person or property. The possession  of  shot  guns  and
        rifles by such persons was made unlawful. The Act  was  challenged
        as being unconstitutional under due process and  equal  protection
        provisions  of  the  14th   Amendment   of   the   United   States
        Constitution. The Court  upheld  the  Act  as  constitutional  and
        observed as follows:
           "The  discrimination  undoubtedly  presents  a  more   difficult
           question, but we start with the  general  consideration  that  a
           State may classify with reference to the evil to  be  prevented,
           and that if the class discriminated  against  is  or  reasonably
           might be considered to define those from whom the evil mainly is
           to be feared, it properly may be picked out. A lack of  abstract
           symmetry does not  matter.  The  question  is  a  practical  one
           dependent upon experience. The demand for symmetry  ignores  the
           specific difference that experience is supposed to have shown to
           mark the class. It is not enough  to  invalidate  the  law  that
           others may do the same thing and go unpunished, if as  a  matter
           of fact, it is found that the danger is  characteristic  of  the
           class named. Lindsley v. Natural  Carbonic  Gas  Co.,  220  U.S.
           61,80,81. The State ‘may direct its law against  what  it  deems
           the evil as it actually exists without covering the whole  field
           of possible abuses’……..  The question therefore  narrows  itself
           to whether this court can say that legislature  of  Pennsylvania
           was not warranted in assuming as its premise for  the  law  that
           resident unnaturalised aliens were the peculiar  source  of  the
           evil that it desired to prevent. Barrett v Indiana, 229 U.S. 26,

           Obviously the question so stated is one of local  experience  on
           which this court ought to be very slow to declare that the stale
           legislature was wrong in its facts. Adams v Milwaukee,  228  US.
           572, 583. If we might trust popular speech in some states it was
           right - but it is enough that this Court has no  such  knowledge
           of local conditions as to be able to say that it was  manifestly

    36. Reliance was also  placed  on  the  observations  made  in  Keokee
        Consolidated Coke Co. Vs. Taylor[6], which are as follows:
           "It   is   more   pressed    that    the    act    discriminates
           unconstitutionally against certain classes. But while there  are
           differences  of  opinion  as  to  the   degree   and   kind   of
           discrimination permitted by  the  Fourteenth  Amendment,  it  is
           established by repeated decisions that a statute aimed  at  what
           is deemed an evil, and hitting it  presumably  where  experience
           shows it to be most felt, is not to be upset by thinking up  and
           enumerating other instances to which it might have been  applied
           equally well, so far as the court  can  see.  That  is  for  the
           legislature to judge unless the case is very clear."

    37. The next judgment relied upon by  the  appellants  is  Radice  Vs.
        People of the State of New York[7], in which the New York  Statute
        was  challenged,  as  it  prohibited  employment   of   women   in
        restaurants in cities of first and second class between  hours  of
        10 p.m. and 6  a.m.  The  Court  upheld  the  legislation  in  the
        following words :
           “Nor  is  the  statute  vulnerable  to  the  objection  that  it
           constitutes a denial of the equal protection of  the  laws.  The
           points urged under this head are (a) that the act  discriminates
           between cities of the first and second class  and  other  cities
           and communities; and  (b)  excludes  from  its  operation  women
           employed in restaurants as singers and performers, attendants in
           ladies' cloak rooms and parlors, as well as in  lunch  rooms  or
           restaurants conducted by employees solely  for  the  benefit  of
           their employees.

           The limitation of the legislative prohibition to cities  of  the
           first and second class does not bring about an unreasonable  and
           arbitrary classification. Packard v Banton, ante, 140;  Hayes  v
           Missouri, 120 U.S. 68. Nor is there substance in the  contention
           that the exclusion of restaurant employees of  a  special  kind,
           and of hotels and employees' lunch  rooms  renders  the  statute
           obnoxious to the Constitution. The statute does  not  present  a
           case where some persons of a  class  are  selected  for  special
           restraint from which others of the  same  class  are  left  free
           (Connolly v Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U.S. 540, 564); but a case
           where all in  the  same  class  of  work  are  included  in  the
           restraint. Of course, the mere fact  of  classification  is  not
           enough to put a statute beyond reach of  equality  provision  of
           the  Fourteenth  Amendment.  Such  classification  must  not  be
           "purely arbitrary, oppressive  or  capricious".  American  Sugar
           Refining Co.  V  Louisiana,  179  U.S.  89,  92.  But  the  mere
           production of inequality  is  not  enough.  Every  selection  of
           persons  for  regulation  so  results,  in  some   degree.   The
           inequality produced, order  to  counter  the  challenge  of  the
           constitution  must  "actually  and  palpably  unreasonable   and
           arbitrary." ……………………………………

           The U.S. Court then relied upon the observations made in Joseph
      Patsone’s case (supra), Keokee Consolidated Coke  Co.  case  (supra)
      which we have already noticed.

    38. Further, learned counsel supported the submissions by relying upon
        the case of Mohd. Hanif Quareshi Vs. State  of  Bihar[8],  wherein
        the court held as under:
           "………The  Courts,  it  is  accepted,  must   presume   that   the
           legislature understands and correctly appreciates the  needs  of
           its own people, that its laws  are  directed  to  problems  made
           manifest by experience and that its discriminations are based on
           adequate grounds. It must be borne in mind that the  legislature
           is free to  recognize  degrees  of  harm  and  may  confine  its
           restrictions to those cases where the need is deemed to  be  the
           clearest and finally that in order to sustain the presumption of
           Constitutionality the court may take into consideration  matters
           of common knowledge, matters of common report,  the  history  of
           the times and may assume every  state  of  facts  which  can  be
           conceived existing at the time of legislation.”

    39. On the basis of the aforesaid extracts, learned counsel  submitted
        that the classification between the  exempted  establishments  and
        prohibited establishment is also based on “Degree  of  Harm”.  The
        legislature is the best judge to measure the degree  of  harm  and
        make reasonable classification.

    40.  Coming  to  the  next  factor–  Regulatory  Feasibility,   which,
        according to the learned senior counsel, supports the validity  of
        the classification. It  was  submitted  that  the  import  of  the
        impugned  enactment  is  not   that,   what   is   prohibited   in
        establishments  under  Section  33A  is   to   be   permitted   in
        establishments  under  Section  33B.  It  is  submitted   by   the
        appellants that the acts which  are  degrading,  dehumanising  and
        facilitating of gender violence in society do not cease to  be  so
        simply by virtue of it being  made  exclusively  available  to  an
        economically stronger sections of society. It is the submission of
        the  appellants  that  the  State  has  already   made   extensive
        regulatory provisions under various enactments.  This  relates  to
        the grant of nature of  license,  terms  and  conditions  of  such
        licence, performance permits. All these  regulatory  measures  are
        with  a  view  to  cure  social  evils.  The  impugned  enactment,
        according  to  the  appellants,  is  a  form  of   an   additional
        regulation. It is justified on the ground that the existing system
        of licenses and permits is not sufficient to deal with the problem
        of ever increasing "dance bars". Relying on the observations  made
        by this Court in S.P. Mittal Vs. Union of India & Ors.[9]  it  was
        submitted by the appellants that it  is  the  prerogative  of  the
        Government  to  decide  if  certain  forms   of   regulation   are
        insufficient, to provide for additional regulation.  Reliance  was
        also placed on the observations made in the  case  of  Radice  Vs.
        People of the State of New York (supra) which are as under :-
           "The basis of the first contention is that  the  statute  unduly
           and arbitrarily interferes with the liberty of two adult persons
           to make a contract of employment for themselves. The  answer  of
           the state is that night work of kind prohibited, so  injuriously
           threatens to impair their peculiar and natural functions, and so
           exposes them to the dangers and menaces incident to  night  life
           in large cities, that a  statute  prohibiting  such  work  falls
           within the police power of the state to preserve and promote the
           public health and welfare.

           The legislature had before it a mass of information  from  which
           it concluded that night work  is  substantially  and  especially
           detrimental to the health of  women.  We  cannot  say  that  the
           conclusion is without warrant……  The injurious consequences were
           thought by the legislature to bear more  heavily  against  women
           than men and considering their delicate  organism,  there  would
           seem to be good reason for so thinking. The fact, assuming it to
           be  such,  properly  may  be  made  the  basis  of   legislation
           applicable only to women. Testimony was given upon the trial  to
           the effect that the night work in question was not harmful;  but
           we do not find it convincing. Where the constitutional  validity
           of a statute depends upon the existence of facts, courts must be
           cautious about reaching a conclusion respecting them contrary to
           that reached by the legislature; and if  the  question  of  what
           facts establish be a fairly debatable one, it is not permissible
           for the judge to set up his opinion in respect of it against the
           opinion of the lawmaker. The state legislature  here  determined
           that the  night  employment  of  the  character  specified,  was
           sufficiently detrimental to the  health  and  welfare  of  women
           engaging in it to justify its suppression;  and,  since  we  are
           unable to say that the finding  is  clearly  unfounded,  we  are
           precluded from reviewing the legislative determination".

    41.  Relying  on  the  aforesaid,  it  is  submitted   that   exempted
        establishments as understood by Section 33B are  gymkhanas,  three
        starred or above hotels. In order to be considered three stars  or
        above establishments, such establishments  have  to  meet  greater
        degrees  of  scrutiny,  both  from  Government  and  from  private
        associations   (hoteliers,   reviewers   etc).   In   fact,   such
        establishments  generally  maintain  standards  higher  than   the
        standards expected of them under the  regulation.  Therefore,  the
        regulation of such  establishments  is  significantly  easier,  as
        opposed to the  prohibited  establishments.  These  establishments
        function, according  to  the  appellants,  to  a  greater  degree,
        outside the constant scrutiny of the law. It is also  pointed  out
        that  it  is  significantly  easier   to   police   the   exempted
        establishments,  which  at  present  are  six  in   number,   than
        attempting  to  police  the  much  greater  number  of  prohibited
        establishments. It is also pointed out  that  in  cases  where  an
        exempted establishment is found carrying out activities prohibited
        in S.33A, it is incumbent on the relevant authority to revoke  the
        permission for such acts. Therefore, it  was  submitted  that  the
        significant difference in feasibility  of  regulation  is  another
        basis for classifying prohibited establishments. The  High  Court,
        according to the counsel, failed to examine the two provisions  in
        a proper perspective.

    42. The next submission of the appellants is that  “the  objective  of
        the Act is an expression of the Obligation on the State to  secure
        safety, social order, public order and dignity of women.”   It  is
        submitted that a bare perusal of the Preamble of the amending  Act
        and the Statement of Objects and Reasons would make it clear  that
        the State enacted the legislation only after receipt of complaints
        from  various  social  organizations  as  well  as  from   various
        individuals. The Preamble makes it clear that the legislature  had
        enough material to show that the performance of dance in the  said
        bars gives rise to exploitation of women,  and  further  that  the
        performance of dances in eating houses, permit rooms or beer  bars
        are derogatory to the dignity of women and are likely to  deprave,
        corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.  The  High  Court
        ought to have considered the Statement of Objects and Reasons  and
        Preamble  of  the  Act  to  discern  the  true  intention  of  the
        legislature. In support of the submission that the Court ought  to
        have looked at the objects and reasons, reliance is placed on  the
        observations of this Court  in  Shashikant  Laxman  Kale  (supra),
        wherein it is observed as follows:
           “It is first necessary to discern the true purpose or object  of
           the impugned enactment because it is only with reference to  the
           true object of the enactment that the existence  of  a  rational
           nexus of the differentia on which the classification  is  based,
           with the object sought to be achieved by the enactment,  can  be
           examined to test the validity of the classification….”

    43. It was reiterated that the High Court has given a very restrictive
        interpretation  to  the  phrase  “exploitation  of   women”.   The
        expression would include not only  the  women  who  dance  in  the
        prohibited establishments but also the waitresses who work in  the
        same establishments. It would also include the effect of the dance
        bar on gender relations of not just the bar dancer,  but  for  the
        women  around  the  area.  The  High  Court,  according   to   the
        appellants, failed to  take  into  account  the  object  that  the
        statutory provisions are in respect of an activity of exploitation
        of women conducted for financial gain  by  bar  owners  and  their
        intermediaries. It is emphasised that the issue involved  in  this
        matter is not merely about  dancing  in  the  bars,  but  involves
        larger issues of dignity of women, the destruction of environments
        and circumstances where it is profitable to keep women vulnerable.
        In such circumstances, the law is being used as a tool for dealing
        with the evils of human trafficking and prostitution, rather  than
        simply  prohibiting  such  activity  without  the   administrative
        resources to effectively implement such prohibition. It is further
        submitted that the State is bound by  this  duty  to  protect  the
        interest of its citizens especially its weaker sections under  the
        Constitution. The legislation is sought to  be  justified  on  the
        touchstone of Article 23, Article 39(e) and Article 51A(e) of  the
        Constitution. The action of' the Government is also  justified  on
        the ground that it is necessary  to  emancipate  women  from  male
        dominance as women in dance bars are looked  upon  as  objects  of
        commerce. It is emphasised that the bar dancing is obscene, vulgar
        and  casts  considerable   amount   of   negative   influence   on
        institutions like family, society, youth etc.

    44. Mr. Gopal Subramanium also emphasised that the State  cannot  shut
        its eyes to the larger social problems arising out of bar  dancing
        which is uncontrolled and impossible to  regulate.  He  sought  to
        justify the aforesaid  submission  by  taking  support  from  some
        observations made in Paris Adult Theatre I Et.  Al  Vs.  Lewis  R.
        Slaton, District Attorney, Atlanta Judicial Circuit,  Et.  Al[10].
        This case provides, according to the  learned  senior  counsel,  a
        discussion on relation with obscenity and pornography and the duty
        of the state to regulate obscenity.  Reliance  is  placed  on  the
        following observations at pp 58, 60, 63, 64 and 69.
           “It is not for us to resolve empirical uncertainties  underlying
           state  legislation,  save  in  exceptional   Case   where   that
           legislation  plainly  impinges  upon  rights  protected  by  the
           Constitution itself.”


           “Although there is no conclusive proof of a  connection  between
           anti social behaviour and obscene material, the  legislature  of
           Georgia could quite reasonably determine that such a  connection
           does or might exist. In deciding  Roth,  this  Court  implicitly
           accepted that a legislature could legitimately  act  on  such  a
           conclusion  to  protect  the  social  interest  in   order   and
           morality." Roth v. United States, 354  U.S..,  at  485,  quoting
           Chaplinsky v New Hampshire, 315 US. 568, 572 (1942).”


           “The sum of experience, including that of the past two  decades,
           affords an ample basis  for  legislatures  to  conclude  that  a
           sensitive, key  relationship  of  human  existence,  central  to
           family life, community welfare, and  the  development  of  human
           personality, can be debased and distorted  by  crass  commercial
           exploitation of sex. Nothing in  the  Constitution  prohibits  a
           state  from  reaching  such  a  conclusion  and  action  on   it
           legislatively simply because there is no conclusive evidence  or
           empirical data.”


           “The states have the power to make a  morally  neutral  judgment
           that public exhibition of obscene material or commerce  in  such
           material has a tendency to  injure  community  as  a  whole,  to
           endanger the public safety or to jeopardise in Mr. Chief Justice
           Warren's words, the States' "right  ...  to  maintain  a  decent
           society". Jacobellis v Ohio 378 US at 199 (dissenting opinion)"

    45. It is further pointed out that the decision to ban obscene dancing
        is also in consonance with Convention on the  Elimination  of  All
        Forms of Discrimination Against  Women  (CEADAW).  Learned  senior
        counsel further submitted that establishments covered  by  Section
        33A have a greater direct and indirect effect on the  exploitation
        of women, and the resultant and causative violence against  women.
        It is submitted that the degree of effect on the subjects  covered
        by the objects of the enactment are greater than any  effect  that
        might be attributable to exempted establishments.
    46. In any event, exempted establishments will also not  be  permitted
        to carry out such performances, but are left to the  operation  of
        parallel regulation simply because they are significantly fewer in
        number and their very  nature  facilitates  effective  regulation.
        Therefore, according to the learned senior counsel,  the  impugned
        enactment  is  not  discriminatory  as  it  makes   a   reasonable
        legislative classification which  has  a  direct  nexus  with  the
        object sought to be  achieved  by  the  Act.  In  support  of  the
        proposition that there is a reasonable classification and that the
        State has the power  to  make  such  classification,  reliance  is
        placed on the observations  made  by  this  Court  in  Kedar  Nath
        Bajoria & Anr. Vs. The State  of  West  Bengal[11]  which  are  as
           "Now it is well settled that the equal protection  of  the  laws
           guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution does not mean  that
           all  laws  must  be  general  in  character  and  universal   in
           application and that the State is no longer to have the power of
           distinguishing and classifying persons or things for the purpose
           of legislation. To put it simply all that is required  in  class
           or special legislation is that  the  legislative  classification
           must not be arbitrary but should be  based  on  an  intelligible
           principle having a reasonable relation to the object  which  the
           legislature seeks to attain. If the classification on which  the
           legislation  is  founded  fulfils  this  requirement,  then  the
           differentia which the legislation makes  between  the  class  of
           persons or things to which  it  applies  and  other  persons  or
           things left outside the purview of  the  legislation  cannot  be
           regarded as a denial of the intelligible  differentia  having  a
           reasonable relation to the legislative purpose.”

    47. Reliance is also placed on the observations of this Court  in  Ram
        Krishna Dalmia Vs. Justice S.R. Tendolkar  (supra)  for  outlining
        the scope and ambit of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

    48. Finally, it is submitted that the Government had various documents
        and reports based on which they felt it important to regulate  the
        menace of trafficking and to uphold the dignity of women.  On  the
        basis  of  the  aforesaid  material,  it  is  submitted  that  the
        Government of Maharashtra enacted the amendment in good faith  and
        knowledge of existing conditions after recognizing harm,  confined
        the restrictions to cases where harm  to  women,  public  morality
        etc. was the highest. The High Court has failed to appreciate  all
        the documentary evidence placed and gave a narrow meaning  to  the
        object of the Act which is in the larger interest of the women and

      Article 19(1)(g) -

    49. With regard to whether there is any infringement of  rights  under
        Article 19(1)(g), it is submitted by the  learned  senior  counsel
        that the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) to practice  any
        profession, trade or occupation  is  subject  to  restrictions  in
        Article 19(6). Therefore, by  prohibiting  dancing  under  Section
        33A, no right of the bar owners are  being  infringed.  The  curbs
        imposed by Sections 33A and 33B only restrict the  owners  of  the
        prohibited establishments from permitting dances to  be  conducted
        in the interest of general public. The term “interest  of  general
        public” is a wide concept and embraces  public  order  and  public
        morality. The reliance in support of this proposition  was  placed
        on State of Gujarat Vs.  Mirzapur  Moti  Kureshi  Kassab  Jamat  &
        Ors.[12]  Reference was also made to Municipal Corporation of  the
        City of Ahmedabad & Ors. Vs. Jan Mohammed  Usmanbhai  &  Anr.[13],
        wherein this Court gave a wide meaning  to  “interest  of  general
        public” and observed as follows :
           “The expression in the interest of general public'  is  of  wide
           import  comprehending  public  order,  public   health,   public
           security, morals, economic welfare  of  the  community  and  the
           objects mentioned in Part IV of the Constitution.”

    50. Factually, it was emphasised that the history of  the  dance  bars
        and the activities performed within the dance bars show that  they
        are not set up with an intention to propagate art, exchange  ideas
        or spread knowledge. It is submitted that the  dance  performances
        in these prohibited establishments were conducted in  obscene  and
        objectionable manner to promote the sale of liquor. Therefore, the
        main activity conducted in these prohibited establishments is  not
        a fundamental right. There is no  fundamental  right  in  carrying
        business or sale in liquor and Government has  power  to  regulate
        the same. There is also overwhelming evidence on  record  to  show
        that girls have not opted for this profession out  of  choice  but
        have been brought into this by middle men  or  other  exploitative
        factors. There is no free and informed choice being  made  by  the
        bar dancers. This is sought to be supported by the observations in
        the Prayas Report where it is stated :
           “In conclusion, the study has shown that most women did not know
           the nature of their employment at the time of getting into dance
           bars for work, and they were  brought  into  this  work  through
           middle men. The basic elements of trafficking were found  to  be
           present in the process of entry, though it may not have been  in
           its overt form. Having come here and seeing  no  other  options,
           they had no choice but to continue in this sector……”.

    51. The SNDT Report also shows that only 17.40% of the bar  girls  are
        from State of Maharashtra. The bar owners have been exploiting the
        girls by sharing the tips received and also capitalizing on  their
        performance to serve liquor and improve the  sales  and  business.
        Again reliance is placed on the observations made in Prayas Report
        at page 47 which is as under :
           "The women working as either dancers or waiters  were  not  paid
           any salary, but were dependant on tips given by customers in the
           bar, which varies from day-to-day and  from  women  to  another.
           This money is often shared with the bar owner  as  per  a  fixed
           ratio ranging from 30 to 60 percent."

    52. The same conclusion is also found in Shubadha Chaukar Report where
        it is stated that :
           "Tips given by enamoured customers are the main income of  girls
           working in the bars. Normally dancers do not  get  a  salary  as
           such. The bar owner makes it look like he is doing a  favour  by
           allowing them to make money by dancing. So he does not give them
           a salary. On the contrary a dancer has to hand over to the owner
           30 to 40 per cent of what she earns. This  varies  from  bar  to

    53. On the basis of the above, it was submitted that  the  bar  owners
        with a view to attract  customers  introduced  dance  shows  where
        extremely young girls dance in an  indecent,  obscene  and  vulgar
        manner which is detrimental to the dignity of women  and  depraves
        and corrupt the morality.

    54. The second limb of the submission is that the prohibition does not
        bar the restaurant owners or the beer parlour owners from  running
        their respective establishments  i.e.  restaurant  business,  beer
        parlours etc. What is being prohibited is only the  dancing  as  a
        form of entertainment in such establishments. The bar  owners  can
        still conduct entertainment programmes like music, orchestras  etc
        which are not prohibited. It is  submitted  that  loss  of  income
        cannot be a reason for the bar owners to claim that their right to
        trade and profession is being infringed. This submission is sought
        to be supported by the observations of this Court in T.B.  Ibrahim
        Vs. Regional Transport Authority, Tanjore[14].  In this case it is
        observed by this Court as follows:
           “………………..There is no fundamental right in a citizen to carry  on
           business wherever he chooses and his right must  he  subject  to
           any reasonable restriction imposed by the executive authority in
           the interest of public convenience. The restriction may have the
           effect of eliminating the use to which the stand  has  been  put
           hitherto  but  the  restriction  cannot  be  regarded  as  being
           unreasonable if the  authority  imposing  such  restriction  has
           power to do so. Whether the abolition of stand was conducive  to
           public convenience or not is a matter entirely for the transport
           authority to  judge,  and  it  is  not  open  to  the  court  to
           substitute its own opinion for the  opinion  of  the  Authority,
           which is in the best position, having regard to its knowledge of
           local conditions to appraise the situation".

    55. It was next submitted that the High Court wrongly  concluded  that
        the activity of young girls/women being introduced as bar  dancers
        is not Res Extra Commercium. Such activity by the young girls is a
        dehumanising process. In any event, trafficking the girls into bar
        dancing completely lacks the element  of  conscious  selection  of
        profession. An activity which has harmful effects on  the  society
        cannot be classified as a profession or trade for protection under
        Article 19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution.  Such  dances  which  are
        obscene and immoral would have to be  considered  as  an  activity
        which is 'Res  Extra  Commercium'.  The  High  Court  has  wrongly
        concluded otherwise. Reliance is also placed on  the  observations
        made by this Court in the case  of  State  of  Bombay  Vs.  R.M.D.
        Chamarbaugwala & Anr.[15]   In this case, it was observed by  this
        Court that activity of gambling could not be raised to the  status
        of trade, commerce or intercourse and to be made subject matter of
        a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g). Similarly,  in
        this case the dance bars having negative impact on family,  women,
        youth  and  has  been  augmenting  the  crime  rate  as  well   as
        trafficking and exploitation of women. Reference was again made to
        the various reports and studies to show the disruptive opinion  of
        the dance bars in the families of the  persons  employed  in  such
        dance bars. Reliance was placed on the judgment of this  Court  in
        Khoday Distilleries Ltd. & Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka & Ors.[16],
        in support of the submission that the trading in liquor is  not  a
        fundamental right. This Court further observed that trafficking in
        women or in slaves or in counterfeit coins or to carry on business
        of exhibiting or publishing  pornographic  or  obscene  films  and
        literature is not a  fundamental  right  as  such  activities  are
        vicious and pernicious.  Reliance  was  placed  on  the  following
           “The correct interpretation to be placed on the expression  "the
           right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation,
           trade or business" is to interpret  it  to  mean  the  right  to
           practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade  or
           business which  can  be  legitimately  pursued  in  a  civilised
           society being not abhorrent to the generally accepted  standards
           of its morality. ………This is apart from the fact that  under  our
           Constitution the implied restrictions on the right  to  practice
           any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or  business
           are made explicit in clauses (2) to (6) of  Article  19  of  the
           Constitution and the State is permitted to make law for imposing
           the said restrictions.”

           “It does not entitle citizens to carry on trade or  business  in
           activities which are immoral and criminal  and  in  articles  or
           goods which are obnoxious and injurious to  health,  safety  and
           welfare of the  general  public,  i.e.,  res  extra  commercium,
           (outside commerce). There cannot be a  business  in  crime.  (c)
           Potable liquor as a beverage is an intoxicating  and  depressant
           drink which  is  dangerous  and  injurious  to  health  and  is,
           therefore, an  article  which  is  res  extra  commercium  being
           inherently harmful. A citizen  has,  therefore,  no  fundamental
           right to do trade or business in  liquor.  Hence  the  trade  or
           business in liquor can be completely prohibited.”

    56. The aforesaid observations were reiterated in State  of  Punjab  &
        Anr. Vs. Devans Modern Breweries Ltd. & Anr.[17]  Relying  on  the
        aforesaid observations,  it  was  submitted  that  in  the  banned
        establishments, the  dance  is  performed  amidst  consumption  of
        liquor and the State has every right  and  duty  to  regulate  the
        consequence emanating from such circumstances. In support of  this
        submission, the appellants relied on the judgment  of  the  United
        States Supreme Court in New York State Liquor Authority Vs. Dennis
        BELLANCA, DBA The Main Event,  Et  Al.[18].   In  this  case,  the
        question raised was about the power of a State to prohibit topless
        dancing in an establishment licensed by State to serve liquor.  It
        was claimed that the prohibition was violative  of  United  States
        Constitution. U.S. Supreme Court, upon consideration of the issue,
        observed as follows:
           "In short, the elected representatives of the State of New  York
           have chosen to avoid the  disturbances  associated  with  mixing
           alcohol and nude dancing by means of reasonable restriction upon
           establishments which sell liquor  for  on-premises  consumption.
           Given the "added presumption in favour of the  validity  of  the
           state  regulation"  conferred   by   Twenty   first   Amendment,
           California v LaRue, 409 U. S., at 118, we cannot agree with  the
           New York Court of Appeals that statute  violates  United  States
           Constitution.  Whatever  artistic  or  communicative  value  may
           attach to topless dancing is overcome by State's exercise of its
           broad powers arising under the Twenty-first Amendment.  Although
           some may quarrel with the wisdom of  such  legislation  and  may
           consider topless dancing a harmless diversion, the Twenty  first
           Amendment  makes  that  a  policy  judgment   fin-   the   state
           legislature, not the courts."

    57. It was also submitted that  in  the  present  case  the  dance  is
        conducted  in  an  obscene  manner  and  further  the  dance  bars
        eventually happen to be pick  up  locations  that  also  propagate
        prostitution in the area, which is sought to be prevented  by  the
        legislation.  The appellants also relied on the judgment in Regina
        Vs. Bloom[19]. In this case, the appellants  were  proprietors  of
        the clubs who were charged with keeping a disorderly house,  which
        arose out of matters  that  occurred  in  course  of  strip  tease
        performances. The Court of Criminal Appeal (England) held that  as
        regards the cases in which indecent performances or exhibition are
        alleged, a disorderly house is a house conducted contrary  to  law
        and good order in that matters performed or exhibited are of  such
        a character that their performance or exhibition  in  a  place  of
        common resort amounts to an outrage of public decency or tends  to
        corrupt or deprave the  dignity  of  women  and  public  morality.
        Therefore in the present circumstances, the State, in the interest
        of dignity of women, maintenance of public order and morality  has
        banned dances in such establishments where regulation is virtually
        impossible. Since the obscene and vulgar dancing is  a  res  extra
        commercium, the establishments cannot claim a fundamental right to
        conduct dance therein.

    58. It is  further  submitted  that  the  legislation  also  does  not
        infringe any fundamental right of the bar dancers. The prohibition
        contained under Section 33A is not absolute and  the  dancers  can
        perform in exempted establishments. This apart,  the  dancers  are
        also free to dance in auditoriums, at parties, functions,  musical
        concerts, etc. According  to  the  appellants,  another  important
        facet of the same submission is that the rights of the  bar  girls
        to dance are subject to the right of the bar  owners  to  run  the
        establishment. In other words, the right  of  the  bar  girls  are
        derivative and they do not have  absolute  right  to  dance  as  a
        vocation or profession in the dance  bars.  This  right  would  be
        automatically curtailed in  case  the  dance  bar  is  closed  for
        economic reasons or as a result of  licence  being  cancelled.  In
        support of the submission, the appellants relied on a judgment  of
        this Court in Fertilizer Corporation Kamgar Union (Regd.),  Sindri
        & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors.[20] in which it is held as  under
           "14. The right of the petitioners to carry on the occupation  of
           industrial workers is  not,  in  any  manner,  affected  by  the
           impugned sale. The right to pursue a calling or to carry  on  an
           occupation is not the same thing as  the  right  to  work  in  a
           particular post under a contract of employment. If  the  workers
           are retrenched consequent upon and on account of sale,  it  will
           be open to them to pursue their rights and  remedies  under  the
           industrial laws. But the point to be noted is that  the  closure
           of an establishment in which a workman is  for  the  time  being
           employed does not by itself infringe his  fundamental  right  to
           carry  on  an  occupation  which  is  guaranteed  under  article
           19(1)(g) of the constitution.”

    59. Relying on the above, it is submitted that there  is  no  absolute
        right for the bar girls to be employed in the dance bars and  that
        the right to work would be subject  to  the  continuation  of  the
        establishment. Hence, it is a derivative right emanating from  the
        right of the dance bar owners to run the establishments subject to
        restrictions imposed.

    60. It is next submitted that the right to  trade  and  profession  is
        subject to reasonable  restriction  under  Article  19(6)  of  the
        Constitution. The decision to impose the ban  was  to  defend  the
        weaker  sections  from  social  injustice   and   all   forms   of
        exploitation. In the instant  case,  the  moral  justification  is
        accompanied with additional legitimate state interest  in  matters
        like safety, public health, crimes traceable  to  evils,  material
        welfare,   disruption   of   cultural   pattern,   fostering    of
        prostitution, problems of daily life and multiplicity  of  crimes.
        Learned senior counsel for the appellants strongly relied upon the
        Statement of Objects and Reasons and the Preamble of the  amending
        Act to reiterate that the State  is  enjoined  with  the  duty  to
        protect larger interest of the society when  weaker  sections  are
        being exploited as objects of commerce and when there is issue  of
        public order and morality involved.

    61. The appellants have relied on a number of judgments of this  Court
        to illustrate the concept  of  “reasonable  restriction”  and  the
        parameters within  which  the  court  will  examine  a  particular
        restriction as to whether it falls within  the  ambit  of  Article
        19(6). Reference was made to the State of Madras Vs. V.G. Row[21],
         B.P. Sharma Vs. Union  of  India  &  Ors.[22],  M.R.F.  Ltd.  Vs.
        Inspector Kerala Govt. & Ors.[23]. Since the  principles  are  all
        succinctly defined, we may notice the observations  made  by  this
        Court in B.P. Sharma’s case (supra).
           "The main purpose of restricting the exercise of the right is to
           strike a balance between individual freedom and social  control.
           The freedom, however, as guaranteed under  article  19(1)(g)  is
           valuable and  cannot  be  violated  on  grounds  which  are  not
           established to be in public interest or just on the  basis  that
           it is permissible to do so. For placing a  complete  prohibition
           on any professional activity there must exist some strong reason
           for the same with a view to attain some legitimate object and in
           case of non-imposition of such prohibition,  it  may  result  in
           jeopardizing or seriously affecting the interest of  the  people
           in general. If it is not  so,  it  would  not  be  a  reasonable
           restriction if placed on exercise of the right guaranteed  under
           article 19 (1)(g). The phrase ''in the interest of  the  general
           public" has come to be considered in several  decisions  and  it
           has been held that it would comprise within its ambit  interests
           like public health and morals (refer to State of  Maharashtra  v
           Himmatbhai Narbheram Rao (AIR 1970 SC 1157), economic  stability
           On consideration of a catena of decisions  on  the  point,  this
           Court, in a case  reported  in  'IMF  Ltd  v  Inspector,  Kerala
           Government (1998) 8 SCC 227 has laid certain tests on the  basis
           of which reasonableness of the restriction imposed  on  exercise
           of the right guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(g) can  be  tested.
           Speaking for the Court, Saghir Ahmad (as he then was), laid down
           such considerations as follows:

            "(1) While considering the reasonableness of the  restrictions,
           the court has to keep in mind the directive principles of  State

           (2) Restrictions must not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature
           so as to go beyond the requirement of the  interest  of  general

           (3) In order to judge the reasonableness of the restrictions, no
           abstract or general pattern or a fixed  principle  can  be  laid
           down so as to be of universal application and the same will vary
           from  case  to  case  as  also  with  regard  to  the   changing
           conditions, values of  human  life,  social  philosophy  of  the
           Constitution,  prevailing   conditions   and   the   surrounding

           (4) A just balance has to be  struck  between  the  restrictions
           imposed and the  social  control  envisaged  by  clause  (6)  of
           article 19.

           (5) Prevailing social values as  also  social  needs  which  are
           intended to be satisfied by restrictions have  to  be  borne  in
           mind. (see State of U.P. v Kaushailiya)

           (6) There must be a direct and proximate nexus or  a  reasonable
           connection between  the  restrictions  imposed  and  the  object
           sought to be achieved. If there is a direct  nexus  between  the
           restrictions  and  the  object  of  the  Act,  then   a   strong
           presumption in favour  of  constitutionality  of  the  Act  will
           naturally arise.”

    62. Thereafter,  Mr.  Subramanium  has  cited  State  of  Gujarat  Vs.
        Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab  Jamat  (supra)  in  support  of  the
        submission that Statement of Objects and Reasons would be relevant
        for considering as to whether it is permissible to place  a  total
        ban under Article 19(6). After  considering  the  principles  laid
        down earlier, this court concluded as under:-
           “We hold that though it is permissible  to  place  a  total  ban
           amounting to prohibition on any profession, occupation, trade or
           business subject to satisfying the test of being  reasonable  in
           the interest of general public, yet, in the present case banning
           slaughter of cow  progeny  is  not  a  prohibition  but  only  a

    63. Relying on the aforesaid, it was submitted that while  considering
        the reasonableness, the  court  should  consider  the  purpose  of
        restriction imposed, extent of urgency, prevailing  conditions  at
        the time when  the  restriction  was  imposed.  According  to  the
        appellants, in the instant case, the social order problems in  and
        around the dance bars had reached such heights which  were  beyond
        the tolerable point. The tests laid down earlier  were  reiterated
        in M.J. Sivani & Ors. Vs. State of' Karnataka & Ors.[24]  In  this
        case, it is observed as follows :
           “18…………. In applying  the  rest  of  reasonableness,  the  broad
           criterion is whether the law strikes a  proper  balance  between
           social control on the one hand and the right  of  individual  on
           the other hand. The court must take into  account  factors  like
           nature  of  the  right  enshrined,  underlying  purpose  of  the
           restriction imposed, evil sought to be remedied by the law,  its
           extent and urgency,  how  far  the  restriction  is  or  is  not
           proportionate to the evil and the prevailing conditions at  that

    64. Relying on the aforesaid, it was submitted that the  larger  issue
        involved was the trafficking of young women and minors into  dance
        bars and also incidentally leading  to  prostitution  which  could
        have been prevented to a large extent only by imposing the ban. In
        support of this, learned counsel have relied on the Prayas  Report
        which shows that 6% of the women working in dance bars are  minors
        and 87% are between the age of 18-30 years. Similarly, SNDT report
        states that minors constitute upto 6.80 % and those between 19  to
        30 years of age constitute 88.20%. Prayas  Report  further  states
        that "It was found that the women respondents  did  not  find  any
        dignity in this work. This is borne out by the fact  that  47%  of
        women did not reveal their work to family members  and  outsiders.
        They are often exposed to the sexual overtures of overenthusiastic
        customers and are aware of their vulnerability to get  exploited".
        The appellants also relied on  a  number  of  complaints  and  the
        various cases of minor girls being rescued from dance bars  during
        the period 2002-05 to buttress their  submission  that  the  young
        girls were subjected to human trafficking. Learned senior  counsel
        also submitted that the High Court has erroneously concluded  that
        if the women can safely work as waitress in  the  Restaurants  why
        can they not work as dancers.  The  learned  senior  counsel  also
        submitted that the High Court wrongly proceeded on the basis  that
        there was no evidence before the State or the Court in support  of
        the legislation. On the basis of the above, it is  submitted  that
        the  restrictions  imposed  are  reasonable  and  the  legislation
        deserves to be declared intra vires the constitutional provisions.

    65. Further, it was submitted that the legislative  wisdom  cannot  be
        gone into  by  the  court.  The  Court  can  only  invalidate  the
        enactment if it transgresses the  constitutional  mandate.  It  is
        submitted that invalidation of a statute is a grave step and  that
        the legislature is  the  best  judge  of  what  is  good  for  the
        community. The legislation can only be declared void  when  it  is
        totally absurd, palpably arbitrary, and cannot  be  saved  by  the
        court. It is reiterated that  the  principle  of  “Presumption  of
        Constitutionality”  has  to  be  firmly  rebutted  by  the  person
        challenging  the  constitutionality  of  legislation.  The  United
        States   Supreme   Court   had   enunciated   the   principle   of
        constitutionality in favour of a statute and that  the  burden  is
        upon the person who attacks it to show that there has been a clear
        transgression of  any  Constitutional  provision.  The  appellants
        relied on the observations made in  Charanjit  Lal  Chowdhury  Vs.
        Union of India & Ors.[25] wherein this Court observed as follows :

           “It  must  be  presumed  that  a  legislature  understands   and
           correctly appreciates the need of its own people, that its  laws
           are directed to problems made manifest by  experience  and  that
           its discriminations are based on adequate grounds"

    66. The same principle was reiterated by this Court in State of  Bihar
        & Ors. Vs. Bihar Distillery Ltd. & Ors.[26] in the following words
           “The approach of the Court, while examining the challenge to the
           constitutionality  of  an  enactment,  is  to  start  with   the
           presumption  of  constitutionality.  The  court  should  try  to
           sustain its validity to the extent possible.  It  should  strike
           down enactment only when it is not possible to sustain  it.  The
           court should not approach the enactment  with  a  view  to  pick
           holes  or  to  search  for  defects  of  drafting,   much   less
           inexactitude of language employed. Indeed, any such  defects  of
           drafting should be ironed out as a part of  attempt  to  sustain
           the validity/constitutionality of the enactment. After  all,  an
           act by the legislature represents the will  of  the  people  and
           that cannot be lightly interfered with. The  unconstitutionality
           must be plainly and clearly established before an  enactment  is
           declared as void."

    67. On the basis of the above, it was submitted  that  the  burden  of
        proof  is  upon  the  Respondents  herein  to   prove   that   the
        enactment/amendment  is  unconstitutional.  Once  the  respondents
        prima  facie  convince   the   Court   that   the   enactment   is
        unconstitutional then the burden shifts upon the State to  satisfy
        that the restrictions imposed on the  fundamental  rights  satisfy
        the test of or reasonableness. The High Court,  according  to  the
        appellants, failed to apply the aforesaid tests.

    68. Finally, it was submitted that in the  event  this  Court  is  not
        inclined  to  uphold  the  constitutionality   of   the   impugned
        provisions, it ought to make every effort to give the provision  a
        strained meaning than what appears to be on the face of it.   This
        is based on the principle that it is only when all efforts  to  do
        so  fail,  the  court  ought  to   declare   a   statute   to   be
        unconstitutional. The principle has been noticed by this Court  in
        Government of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. Vs. P. Laxmi  Devi  (Smt.)[27]
        wherein it is observed as follows :
           "46. In our opinion, there  is  one  and  only  one  ground  for
           declaring an Act of the legislature (or a provision in the  Act)
           to be invalid, and that is if it clearly violates some provision
           of the constitution in so evident a manner as to leave no manner
           of doubt. This violation can, of course, be  in  different  ways
           But before declaring the statute  to  be  unconstitutional,  the
           court must be absolutely sure that there can  be  no  two  views
           that are possible, one making the statute constitutional and the
           other making it unconstitutional, the former view must always be
           preferred. Also, the court must make every effort to uphold  the
           constitutional validity of a  statute,  even  if  that  requires
           giving strained construction or narrowing down  its  scope  vide
           Rt. Rev. Msgr. Mark Netto v State of Kerala (1979) 1 SCC 23 para

    69. The same principle was reiterated in Kedar Nath Singh Vs. State of
        Bihar[28] which is as follows :
           “It is well settled that if certain provisions of law, construed
           in one way, would make them consistent with the Constitution and
           another interpretation would render them  unconstitutional,  the
           court would lean in favour of the former construction.”

    70. On the basis of the above, it was submitted that this Court  ought
        to read down the provision in the following manner:
            “All dance” found in Section 33A of the Police Act may  be  read
      down to mean that “dances which are  obscene  and  derogatory  to  the
      dignity of women”. This would ensure that there is no violation of any
      of the rights of the girls who dance as well as that of the owners  of
      the establishments. Still further, it was submitted that even  if  the
      reading of the provisions as mentioned above is not accepted,  Section
      33A can still be saved by applying the doctrine of severability. It is
      submitted that the intention of the legislature being to prohibit  and
      ban obscene dance in the interest of society and to uphold the dignity
      of women, by severing the exempting section, namely, Section  33B  and
      the provision which is contained in Section 33A can be declared to  be
      in accordance with the object of legislature. This  would  remove  the
      vice of discrimination, as declared by the High Court.

      Respondents’ Submissions:

    71. In response to the aforesaid elaborate submissions, learned senior
        counsel appearing for the respondents have also submitted  written
        submissions. Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, learned  senior  counsel  appeared
        for respondent –  Indian  Hotel  and  Restaurants  Association  in
        C.A.No.2705  of  2006,  whereas               Dr.  Rajeev  Dhawan,
        learned senior counsel, appeared on behalf of Bhartiya  Bar  Girls
        Union in C.A.No.2705 of 2006. Mr.  Anand  Grover,  learned  senior
        counsel, appeared for respondent Nos. 1 to 6  in  W.P.No.2338/2005
        and respondent No. 1 and 2 in W.P. No.2587 of 2005.

    72. Since the High Court has accepted the submissions made  on  behalf
        of the respondents (writ petitioners in the High Court), it  shall
        not be necessary to note the submissions  of  the  learned  senior
        counsel as  elaborately  as  the  submissions  of  the  appellants
        herein. Mr. Mukul Rohatgi submitted that,  at  the  heart  of  the
        present case, the controversy revolved around the right to earn  a
        livelihood more so than the  right  of  a  person  to  choose  the
        vocation of their calling. It was submitted that  apart  from  the
        reasoning given in the judgment of the High Court,  the  challenge
        to the impugned legislation can  be  sustained  on  other  grounds
        also. He submits that a classification of the establishments  into
        three stars and above, and below is not based on any  intelligible
        differentia and  is  per  se  discriminatory  and  arbitrary.  Bar
        dancers have a right to livelihood under Article 21  and  the  ban
        practically takes away their right to  livelihood.  He  therefore,
        submits that the ban is violative of  Articles  14,  19(1)(a)  and
        19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution. Relying on  the  observations
        made by this Court in the case of I.R. Coelho (Dead) by  LRs.  Vs.
        State of T.N.[29], he submits that these  articles  are  the  very
        heart and soul of the Constitution and  are  entitled  to  greater
        protection by the Court than any other right. Mr. Rohatgi  submits
        that the submissions made by the appellants  with  regard  to  the
        protecting the dignity of  women  and  preventing  trafficking  in
        women  are  misconceived.  There  are  adequate  measures  in  the
        existing provisions, licensing conditions  which  would  safeguard
        the dignity of women. Relying on Sections 370 and 370A of the IPC,
        he submits  that  there  are  adequate  alternate  mechanisms  for
        preventing trafficking in women. Elaborating  on  the  submissions
        that dance is protected by Article 19(1)(a)  of  the  Constitution
        being a part of fundamental right of  speech  and  expression,  he
        relied upon the observations made by this Court  in  Sakal  Papers
         (P) Ltd. & Ors. Vs. The Union of India[30]. He has  also  made  a
        reference to some decisions of the  High  Court  recognizing  that
        dancing and cabaret are protected rights under  Article  19(1)(a).
        He points out that it is always open to a citizen to  commercially
        benefit  from  the  exercise  of  the  fundamental   right.   Such
        commercial  benefit  could  be  by  a  bar  owner   having   dance
        performance or by the  dancers  themselves  using  their  creative
        talent to carry on  an  occupation  or  profession.  The  impugned
        amendment prohibits the bar owners from carrying on  any  business
        or trade associated with dancing in these establishments  and  the
        bar girls from dancing in those premises. He then submits that the
        amendment violates Article 19(1)(g), by imposing  restrictions  by
        way of total prohibition of dance. Even though the  freedom  under
        Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  is  not  absolute,   any
        restriction imposed upon the same have to fall within the  purview
        of clause 6 of Article 19. Therefore, the restriction  imposed  by
        law must be reasonable and in the interest of general  public.  It
        was also submitted that while such  restriction  may  incidentally
        touch upon other subjects mentioned above,  such  as  morality  or
        decency, the same cannot  be  imposed  only  in  the  interest  of
        morality or decency. Mr. Rohatgi then submitted that  the  reasons
        set out in the objects  and  reasons  of  the  amendment  are  not
        supported by any evidence which would demonstrate that  there  was
        any threat to public order. There is also no material to show that
        the members of the Indian Hotel and Restaurants  Association  were
        indulging  in  human  trafficking  or  flesh   trade.   Therefore,
        according to Mr. Rohatgi, the ban was not for  the  protection  of
        any  interests  of  the  general  public.  In  fact,  Mr.  Rohatgi
        emphasised that the Statement of  Objects  and  Reasons  does  not
        refer to trafficking. The compilation of 600 pages  given  to  the
        respondents by the appellants does not contain a single  complaint
        about trafficking. All allegations relating  to  trafficking  have
        been introduced only to justify the ban on dancing. He, therefore,
        submits that  the  total  ban  imposed  on  dancing  violates  the
        fundamental  right  guaranteed  under  Article  19(1)(g).  Learned
        senior counsel further submitted that dancing  is  not  res  extra
        commercium. He emphasised that if the dancing of similar nature in
        establishments, mentioned  in  Section  33B  is  permissible,  the
        prohibition of similar dance performance in establishments covered
        under Section 33 cannot be termed as reasonable  and  or  “in  the
        interest of general public”. Therefore, according to Mr.  Rohatgi,
        the restrictions do not fall within the scope of Article 19(6). He
        relied on the judgment of this Court in Anuj Garg & Ors. Vs. Hotel
        Association of India & Ors.[31], wherein a ban  on  employment  of
        women in establishment  where  liquor  was  served,  was  declared
        discriminatory and violative of Articles 14, 15,  19  and  21.  In
        this case, it was held as under :
           “…….Women would be as vulnerable without State protection as  by
           the loss of freedom because of the impugned Act. The present law
           ends up victimising its subject in the name  of  protection.  In
           that  regard  the  interference  prescribed  by  the  State  for
           pursuing the ends of protection should be proportionate  to  the
           legitimate aims. The standard for  judging  the  proportionality
           should be a standard capable of being  called  reasonable  in  a
           modern democratic society.

           Instead of putting curbs on women's freedom,  empowerment  would
           be a more tenable and socially wise approach.  This  empowerment
           should reflect in the law enforcement strategies of the State as
           well as law modelling done in this behalf.

           Also with the advent of modern State,  new  models  of  security
           must be developed. There can be a  setting  where  the  cost  of
           security in the establishment can  be  distributed  between  the
           State and the employer.”

    73. Relying on the State of Gujarat Vs. Mirzapur Moti  Kureshi  Kassab
        Jamat (supra), Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the standard for judging
        reasonability of restriction  or  restrictions  which  amounts  to
        prohibition remains the same, excepting that a  total  prohibition
        must also satisfy the test that  a  lesser  alternative  would  be
        inadequate. The State has failed to even examine  the  possibility
        of the alternative steps that could have been taken. He  has  also
        relied on the judgments with regard to the violation of Article 14
        to which reference has already been made in the  earlier  part  of
        the judgment. Therefore, it is  not  necessary  to  reiterate  the
        same. However, coming back to Section 33B, Mr.  Rohatgi  submitted
        that dancing that is banned in the  establishments  covered  under
        Section 33A is permitted under the exempted  establishments  under
        Section 33B. According to learned senior counsel, the  differentia
        in Section 33A and 33B does not satisfy the  requirement  that  it
        must be intelligible and  have  a  rational  nexus  sought  to  be
        achieved  by  the  statute.  He   submits   that   the   purported
        “immorality” gets converted to “virtue” where the  dancer  who  is
        prohibited from dancing in an establishment covered under  Section
        33A, dances in an establishment covered  under  Section  33B.  The
        discrimination, according to Mr. Rohatgi, is  accentuated  by  the
        fact that for a breach committed by the licensees in the  category
        of Section 33B only their  licenses  will  be  cancelled  but  the
        licensees of establishments covered under Section 33A  would  have
        to  close  down  their  business.  He  further  submits  that  the
        provision contained in Section 33A is based on the presumption  of
        the State Government that the performance of dance  in  prohibited
        establishments  having   lesser   facilities   than   three   star
        establishments would be derogatory to the dignity  of  women.  The
        State also presumed that dancing in such establishments is  likely
        to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality. The presumption  is
        without  any  factual  basis.  The  entry   of   women   in   such
        establishments is not banned. There is  also  no  prohibition  for
        women to take up alternative jobs within such establishments. They
        can serve liquor and beer to persons but this does not lead to the
        presumption that it would arouse lust in the  male  customers.  On
        the other hand, when women start dancing it is  presumed  that  it
        would arouse  lust  in  the  male  customers.  He  emphasised  the
        categorization of establishments under Sections 33A and  33B  does
        not specify the twin criteria: (i) that the classification must be
        founded on an intelligible differentia which  distinguishes  those
        that are grouped together from others; and  (ii)  the  differentia
        must have a rational nexus or relation to the object sought to  be
        achieved by the legislation. He submits  that  there  is  a  clear
        discrimination  between  the  prohibited  establishments  and  the
        exempted establishments. He points out that the only basis for the
        differentiation between the exempted and prohibited establishments
        is the investment and the  paying  capacity  of  patrons.  Such  a
        differentiation, according to  Mr.  Rohatgi,  is  not  permissible
        under the Constitution.

    74. The next submission of Mr. Rohatgi is that Article  21  guarantees
        the right to life which  would  include  the  right  to  secure  a
        livelihood and to make  life  meaningful.  Article  15(1)  of  the
        Constitution  of  India  guarantees  the  fundamental  right  that
        prohibits discrimination against any citizen, inter alia,  on  the
        ground only of sex. Similarly Article  15(2)  lays  down  that  no
        citizen shall, on grounds only of, inter alia, sex, be subject  to
        any disability, liability, restriction or condition  with  regard,
        inter alia, to “access to shops, public  restaurants,  hotels  and
        places of public entertainment.” The provision in Article 15(3) is
        meant for protective discrimination or a benign discrimination  or
        an affirmative action in favour of women and its purpose is not to
        curtail  the  fundamental  rights  of  women.  He  relied  on  the
        observations made by this Court in Government  of  A.P.  Vs.  P.B.
        Vijayakumar & Anr.[32] :-
           “The insertion of clause (3) of Article 15 in relation to  women
           is a recognition of the  fact  that  centuries,  women  of  this
           country have been socially and economically  handicapped.  As  a
           result, they are unable to  participate  in  the  socio-economic
           activities of the nation on a footing  of  equality.  It  is  in
           order to eliminate this socio-economic backwardness of women and
           to empower them in a manner that  would  bring  about  effective
           equality between men and women that Article 15(3) is  placed  in
           Article 15. Its object is to strengthen and improve  the  status
           of women. An important limb of this concept of  gender  equality
           is creating job opportunities for women……’’
                                       (Emphasis supplied)

    75. He submits that the impugned legislation has achieved the opposite
        result. Instead of creating fresh job opportunities for  women  it
        takes away whatever job opportunities  are  already  available  to
        them. He emphasised that  the  ban  also  has  an  adverse  social
        impact. The loss of livelihood of bar dancers has put  them  in  a
        very precarious situation to  earn  the  livelihood.  Mr.  Rohatgi
        submitted that the dancers merely  imitate  the  dance  steps  and
        movements of Hindi movie actresses. They wear traditional  clothes
        such as ghagra cholis, sarees and  salwar  kameez.  On  the  other
        hand, the actresses in  movies  wear  revealing  clothes:  shorts,
        swimming costumes and revealing dresses. Reverting to the reliance
        placed by the appellants on the Prayas Report and Shubhada Chaukar
        Report, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that both  the  reports  are  of  no
        value, especially in the case of Prayas Report which is  based  on
        interviews conducted with only few girls. The SNDT Report actually
        indicates that there is no organized racket that brings  women  to
        the dance bars.  The girls’ interview,  in  fact,  indicated  that
        they came to the dance bars through family,  community,  neighbors
        and street knowledge.  Therefore, according to  the  Mr.  Rohatgi,
        the allegations with regard to trafficking to the  dance  bars  by
        middlemen are without any basis. Most of the girls  who  performed
        dance  are  generally  illiterate  and  do  not  have  any  formal
        education. They also  do  not  have  any  training  or  skills  in
        dancing. This clearly rendered them virtually unemployable in  any
        other  job.  He,  therefore,  submits  that  the  SNDT  Report  is
        contradictory to  the  Prayas  Report.  Thus,  the  State  had  no
        reliable data on the basis of which the impugned  legislation  was
        enacted. Mr. Rohatgi further submitted that there  are  sufficient
        provisions in  various  statutes  which  empowered  the  Licensing
        Authority to frame rules and regulations for licensing/controlling
        places of public amusement or entertainment. By making a reference
        to Rules 120 and 123 framed under the Amusement  Rules,  1960;  he
        submits that no performers are permitted to commit on the stage or
        any part  of  the  auditorium  any  profanity  or  impropriety  of
        language. These  dancers  are  also  not  permitted  to  wear  any
        indecent dress. They are also not permitted to make  any  indecent
        movement  or  gesture  whilst  dancing.  Similar  provisions   are
        contained under the Performance License. Although  learned  senior
        counsel has listed all the regulatory provisions  contained  under
        the Bombay Police Act, it is not necessary to notice the same. The
        submission  based  on  this  regulation  is  that  there  is  wide
        amplitude of power available to the appellants for controlling any
        perceived violation of dignity of women through obscene dances. He
        submits that the  respondents  are  being  made  a  scapegoat  for
        lethargy and failure of police to implement the provisions of  law
        which are already in place and are valid and  subsisting.  Failure
        of the appellants in not  implementing  the  necessary  rules  and
        regulations would not justify the impugned  legislation.   Learned
        senior counsel has also submitted that the  State  Government,  in
        its effort to  regulate  the  conduct  of  dances,  had  formed  a
        Committee to make suggestions for amendment of the existing Rules.
        The Committee had prepared its report and submitted  the  same  to
        the State Government. However, the State Government did  not  take
        any steps for  implementation  of  the  recommendation  which  was
        supported by the  Indian  Hotel  and  Restaurant  Association.  He
        submits that the judgment of the High Court does not call for  any

    76. Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, learned senior counsel,  has  also  highlighted
        the same issues. He has submitted that the provisions contained in
        Section 33A(1) prohibit performance of dance of any kind or  type.
        Since the Section contained the Non Obstante Clause, it is a stand
        alone provision absolutely independent of the Act and  the  Rules.
        He submits  that  the  provisions  are  absolutely  arbitrary  and
        discriminatory.  Under  Section  33A(1),  there  is  an   absolute
        provision which is totally prohibiting  dance  in  eating  houses,
        permit rooms  or  beer  bars.  On  the  other  hand,  Section  33B
        introduced the  discriminatory  provision  which  allows  such  an
        activity in establishments where entry is  restricted  to  members
        only and three starred or above hotels. He  also  emphasised  that
        the consequence of violation of Section 33A is punishment up to  3
        years imprisonment or Rs. 2 lakhs fine or both and with a  minimum
        3 months and Rs.50,000/- fine unless  reasons  are  recorded.  The
        Section  further  contemplates  that  the  licence   shall   stand
        cancelled. Section 33A(6) makes the offence  cognizable  and  non-
        bailable.  According  to  Dr.  Rajeev  Dhawan,  the  provision  is
        absolute and arbitrary. He reiterates that the non obstante clause
        virtually makes Section 33A stand alone. Further Section 33A(1) is
        discretion less. It applied to all the establishments  and  covers
        all the activities, including holding of performance of  dance  of
        any kind or type in any eating house, permit  room  or  beer  bar.
        There is total prohibition in the  aforesaid  establishments.  The
        breach of any condition  would  entail  cancellation  of  licence.
        According to Dr. Dhawan, Section 33A is a draconian code which  is
        discretion less overbroad, arbitrary with mandatory punishment for
        offences which are cognizable and non-bailable. He then emphasised
        that the exemption granted to the establishment under Section  33B
        introduces   blatant   discrimination.   He   submits   that   the
        classification of two  kinds  of  establishment  is  unreasonable.
        According to Dr. Dhawan,  it  is  clear  that  Section  33B  makes
        distinction on the grounds of “class of establishments” or  “class
        of persons who frequent the establishment” and not on the form  of
        dance.   He  reiterates  the  submission  that  if  dance  can  be
        permitted in exempted institutions it  cannot  be  banned  in  the
        prohibited   establishments.   He    submitted    that    treating
        establishments entitled to a performance licence differently, even
        though   they   constitute   two   distinct   classes   would   be
        discriminatory as also arbitrary, considering the  object  of  the
        Act and the same being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution
         of India. Answering the submission on burden of proof with regard
        to the reasonableness of the restriction,       Dr. Dhawan submits
        that the burden of showing that the recourse to Article  19(6)  is
        permissible lies upon the State and not on the citizen, he  relies
        on the judgment of this Court in M/s. Laxmi Khandsari &  Ors.  Vs.
        State of U.P. & Ors.[33]

    77. Relying on the  Narendra  Kumar  &  Ors.  Vs.  Union  of  India  &
        Ors.[34], he submitted that the total prohibition in  Section  33A
        must satisfy the  test  of  Article  19(6)  of  the  Constitution.
        Reliance is placed on a number of judgments to which we have  made
        a reference  earlier.  Dr.  Dhawan  further  emphasised  that  the
        reports relied upon by the State would not  give  a  justification
        for enacting the impugned legislation.  He  points  out  that  the
        study conducted by Shubhada Chaukar for Vasantrao Bhagwat Memorial
        Fellowship entitled “Problems of Mumbai Bar  girls”  is  based  on
        conversations with 50 girls. According to Dr. Dhawan, this  report
        is thoroughly unreliable. The report itself indicates  that  there
        are about one lakh bar girls in  Mumbai-Thane  Region,  therefore,
        interview of 50 girls would not  be  sufficient  to  generate  any
        reliable data. The report also states that there are  about  1000-
        1200 bars, but it is based on interaction with seven  bar  owners.
        Even then the report does not  suggest  complete  prohibition  but
        suggests a framework which “regulates” the  functioning  of  bars,
        performances by singers, dancers etc. Similarly, the Prayas Report
        cannot be relied upon. The study was, in fact, done after the  ban
        was imposed by the State Government. Even  this  report  indicates
        that after the ban there was urgent need to find alternate  source
        of livelihood for these girls. There was no facility of  education
        for the children. Even this report finds that  the  families  from
        which these girls come are economically weak. Six percent of minor
        children comprise the dancing population. They  are  not  provided
        any specialized training to be bar dancers. They do  not  live  in
        self owned houses. The SNDT Report clearly states that  the  study
        is based on interaction with 500 girls from 50  bars.  The  report
        indicates that there are a number of  prevalent  myths  which  are
        without any basis. It  is  pointed  out  that,  according  to  the
        report, the following are the myths :-
           1. It  is  an  issue  of  trafficking  from  other  States  and

           2. 75% dancers are from Bangladesh.

           3. Only 3% are dancers from Maharashtra.

           4. Bar culture is against the tradition of Maharashtra.

           5. Girls who dance are minors.

           6. Bar Dancers hide their faces.

           7. Girls don’t work hard.

           8. Bar Girls can be rehabilitated in Call Centers.

           9. Dancing in Bars is sexual exploitation.

          10. Girls are forced into sex work.

          11. Dance bars are vulgar and obscene.

          12. Ban will solve all these problems.

    78. The study, in fact, recommends that the dance bars should  not  be
        banned. There should be regularization of  working  conditions  of
        bar dancers. There should be monitoring and prevention of entry of
        children into these establishments.  There  should  be  protection
        against forced sexual relations and harassments. There  should  be
        security of earning, medical benefits and protection  from  unfair
        trade practices. The report recommends that there is  a  need  for
        development that increases rather than reduces options for  women.
        The report also indicates that the ban had an  adverse  impact  in
        that respect. It will lead to women becoming forced  sex  workers.
        The second report of SNDT is based  on  empirical  interviews.  It
        recommends that the ban imposed should be lifted immediately.  Dr.
        Dhawan has further  elaborated  the  shortcomings  of  the  Prayas
        Report. He has also emphasised  that  both  the  SNDT  and  Prayas
        Report substantiate the fact that  dancers  were  the  sole  bread
        winners in their  families  earning  approximately  Rs.5,000/-  to
        Rs.20,000/- per month. They  were  supporting  large  families  in
        Mumbai as well as in their native places.  After  the  ban,  these
        families are left without a source of income and have  since  then
        been rendered destitute. He also points out that  the  SNDT  study
        indicates that many  dancers  came  from  environments/employments
        where they had been exploited  (maid  servants,  factory  workers,
        etc.). Most of these women had taken employment as dancers in view
        of the fact that  it  afforded  them  financial  independence  and
        security. The SNDT Report points out that not a single bar  dancer
        has ever made any complaint about being trafficked.  The  reports,
        according  to  Dr.  Dhawan,   clearly   indicate   that   complete
        prohibition is not the solution and regulation is the answer.

    79. Dr. Dhawan then submitted that the  conclusions  recorded  by  the
        High Court on equality and exploitation need  to  be  affirmed  by
        this Court. He has submitted that to determine the  reasonableness
        of the restriction, the  High  Court  has  correctly  applied  the
        direct and inevitable  effect  test.  He  seeks  support  for  the
        submission, by making a reference to the observations made by this
        Court in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper Vs. Union of India[35] and  Maneka
        Gandhi Vs. Union of India  &  Anr.[36],  he  emphasised  that  the
        direct operation of the Act upon the rights forms the  real  test.
        The principle has been described as the doctrine of  intended  and
        real effect or the direct and inevitable effect, in  the  case  of
        Maneka Gandhi (supra). Dr. Dhawan also emphasised that dancing  is
        covered by Article 19(1)(a) even though it has been  held  by  the
        High Court that it is not  an  expression  of  dancers  but  their
        profession. He relied on the observations of this Court in  Bharat
        Bhawan Trust Vs. Bharat Bhawan  Artists’  Association  &  Anr.[37]
        wherein it is held that the acting done by an artist is  not  done
        for the business. It is an expression of creative talent, which is
        a part of expression.

    80. Illustrations submitted by Dr. Dhawan  are  that  the  legislation
        cannot be saved even by adopting the doctrine  of  proportionality
        which requires adoption of the least invasive approach. Dr. Dhawan
        has reiterated that the suggestions made by the Committee pursuant
        to the resolution                dated 19th December,  2002  ought
        to be accepted.  According  to  Dr.  Dhawan,  acceptance  of  such
        suggestions would lead to substantial improvement.  If  the  State
        really seeks to control obscene bar dancing, he submitted that the
        solution can be based on ensuring that:- bar girls are  unionized;
        there is adequate protection to the girls and more involvement  of
        the workers in self improvement and self  regulation.  Dr.  Dhawan
        does not agree with Mr. Gopal  Subramanium  that  this  should  be
        treated as a case of trafficking with complicated  crisis  centric

    81. Mr. Anand Grover, learned senior counsel has rebutted the  factual
        submissions made by the appellants.  He submits that the State has
        wrongly mentioned before the court that women who dance in the bar
        are trafficked or compelled to dance against their will  and  that
        the significant number of dancers are minor or under the age of 18
        years; that the  majority  of  dancers  are  from  states  outside
        Maharashtra  which  confirms   the   allegation   of   inter-state
        trafficking; that dancing in bars is a  gateway  to  prostitution;
        that bar dancing is associated with crime and breeds  criminality;
        that  the  conditions  of  dance   bars   are   exploitative   and
        dehumanizing for the women. Lastly, that bar  dancing  contributes
        to social-ills and illicit affairs between dancers  and  the  male
        visitors break up of family and domestic violence against wives of
        men  visiting  the  dance  bars.  According  to  Mr.  Grover,  the
        aforesaid assertions are  founded  on  incorrect,  exaggerated  or
        overstated claims. Learned senior counsel has also indicated  that
        there is great deal of fudging of figures by police with regard to
        complaints  and  cases  registered  under  the   dance   bars   to
        substantiate their contentions. He has relied on the official data
        on the incidence of trafficking crimes  from  the  National  Crime
        Records Bureau report for the year 2004-2011 to show that there is
        no nexus between dance bars  and  trafficking  in  women.  Learned
        senior counsel has reiterated the submission that Section 33A  and
        Section 33B of the Bombay Police Act violate  Article  14  of  the
        Constitution. He has relied on the judgment of this Court in  D.S.
        Nakara & Ors. Vs. Union of India[38]. Learned senior counsel  also
        reiterated that the classification between the establishment under
        Section 33A and Section 33B is unreasonable.

    82. The High Court, according  to  the  learned  senior  counsel,  has
        wrongly accepted the explanation given by the appellants in  their
        affidavits that the classification is based on the type  of  dance
        performed in the establishments. This, according to learned senior
        counsel, is contrary to the provisions contained in the  aforesaid
        sections. He  reiterated  the  submissions  that  the  distinction
        between the establishments is based  not  on  the  type  of  dance
        performance but on the basis of class of such  establishments.  He
        makes a reference to the affidavit in reply filed in Writ Petition
        No.2450 of 2005 at paragraph 33 inter alia stated as follows :-
           “Even otherwise five star hotels are class themselves and  can’t
           be  compared  with  popularly  known  dance  bars….the   persons
           visiting these hotels or establishments referred  therein  above
           stand on different footing and can’t be compared with the people
           who attend the establishments which are popularly known as dance
           bar. They belong to different strata of society and are a  class
           by themselves.”

    83. These observations, according to learned counsel, are contrary  to
        the decision of this Court in Sanjeev Coke  Manufacturing  Company
        Vs. M/s Bharat Coking Coal Limited & Anr.[39] Mr. Grover has  also
        reiterated the submission that classification between Sections 33A
        and 33B establishments has  no  rational  nexus  with  the  object
        sought to be achieved by the impugned legislation. He submits that
        whereas  Section  33A  prohibits  any  kind  or  type   of   dance
        performance in eating house, permit room or beer bar, i.e.,  dance
        bars, Section  33B  allows  all  types  and  kinds  of  dances  in
        establishments covered under Section 33B. Learned  senior  counsel
        further submits that the object of the impugned legislation is  to
        protect women from exploitation by prohibiting dances, which  were
        of indecent, obscene and vulgar type, derogatory to the dignity of
        women  and  likely  to  deprave,  corrupt  or  injure  the  public
        morality, or morals. This is belied by the fact that all kinds  of
        dances are permitted in the exempted establishments covered  under
        Section 33B. He has also given the example that most of the  Hindi
        film songs or even  dancing  in  discos  are  much  more  sexually
        explicit than the clothes worn by the bar dancers.

    84. Learned senior counsel  further  submitted  that  exploitation  of
        women is not limited only to dance bar. Such  exploitation  exists
        in all forms of employment  including  factory  workers,  building
        site  workers,  housemaids  and  even  waitresses.  In  short,  he
        reiterated the submission that the legislation  does  not  advance
        the objects and reasons stated in the amendment  Act.  Mr.  Grover
        further submitted that the impugned law violates the principle  of
        proportionality. He has pointed out that  gender  stereotyping  is
        also palpable in the solution  crafted  by  the  legislature.  The
        impugned statute does not affect a man’s freedom to visit bars and
        consume  alcohol,  but  restricts  a  woman  from   choosing   the
        occupation  of  dancing  in  the  same  bars.   The   legislation,
        patronizingly, seeks to  ‘protect’  women  by  constraining  their
        liberty, autonomy and  self-determination.  Mr.  Grover  has  also
        reiterated the submission that Section 33A is violative of Article
        19(1)(a) of the Constitution. According to Mr. Grover, restriction
        imposed on the  freedom  of  expression  is  not  justified  under
        Article 19(6) of the Constitution.  He  submits  that  dancing  in
        eating houses,  permit  rooms  or  beer  bars  is  not  inherently
        dangerous to  public  interest.  Therefore,  restrictions  on  the
        freedom of speech  and  expression  are  wholly  unwarranted.  Mr.
        Grover also emphasised that dancing is not inherently dangerous or
        pernicious and cannot be treated akin to trades that are res extra
        commercium. Bar dancers, therefore, have a  fundamental  right  to
        practice and pursue  their  profession/occupation  of  dancing  in
        eating houses, beer  bars  and  permit  rooms.  The  social  evils
        projected by the appellants, according to              Mr. Grover,
        are related to serving and drinking of alcohol  and  not  dancing.
        Therefore, there was no rational nexus  in  the  law  banning  all
        types of dances. He also emphasised that the women can be  allowed
        to work as waitresses to serve liquor and alcoholic drinks.  There
        could be no justification for banning the performance of dance  by
        them.  Mr. Grover also submitted that the ban contained in Section
        33A violates Article 21 of the Constitution. He submits  that  the
        right to livelihood is an integral  part  of  the  right  to  life
        guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.  The  deprivation
        of right to livelihood can be justified  if  it  is  according  to
        procedure established by law under Article 21. Such a law  has  to
        be fair, just and reasonable both substantively and  procedurally.
        The impugned law, according to Mr. Grover, does not meet the  test
        of substantive due process. It does not  provide  any  alternative
        livelihood options to the thousands of bar dancers who  have  been
        deprived of their legitimate source of livelihood. In the name  of
        protecting women from exploitation, it has sought to deprive  more
        than 75,000 women and their families from  their  livelihoods  and
        their only means of subsistence. Mr.  Grover  has  submitted  that
        there  is  no  viable  rehabilitation  or  compensation  provision
        offered to the bar dancers, in order to  tide  over  the  loss  of
        income and employment opportunities. According to  learned  senior
        counsel, in the last 7 years, the impact of  the  prohibition  has
        been devastating on  the  lives  of  the  bar  dancers  and  their
        families. This has deprived the erstwhile bar dancers  of  a  life
        with dignity. In the present context, the dignity of  bar  dancers
        (of persons) and dignity of dancing (work) has been conflated in a
        pejorative way. According  to  Mr.  Grover,  the  bar  dancing  in
        establishments covered under Section 33A has been demeaned because
        the dancers therein hail  from  socially  and  economically  lower
        castes and class. It is a class based discrimination  which  would
        not satisfy the test of Article 14.

    85. Lastly, he has submitted that the plea of trafficking would not be
        a justification to sustain  the  impugned  legislation.  In  fact,
        trafficking is not even mentioned in the Statement of Objects  and
        Reasons, it was mentioned for the  first  time  in  the  affidavit
        filed by the State in reply to the  writ  petition.  According  to
        learned senior counsel, the legislation has been rightly  declared
        ultra vires by the High Court.

    86. We have considered the submissions  made  by  the  learned  senior
        counsel for the parties. We have also perused  the  pleadings  and
        the material placed before us.

    87. The High Court rejected the challenge to the impugned Act  on  the
        ground that the State legislature was not competent to  enact  the
        amendment. The argument  was  rejected  on  the  ground  that  the
        amendment is substantially covered by  Entries 2, 8, 33 and 64  of
        List II.  The  High  Court  further  observed  that  there  is  no
        repugnancy between the powers conferred  on  the  Centre  and  the
        State under Schedule 7 List II and  III  of  the  Constitution  of
        India. The High Court  also  rejected  the  submissions  that  the
        proviso to Section  33A  (2)  amounts  to  interference  with  the
        independence of the judiciary on the ground that  the  legislature
        is empowered to regulate sentencing by  enactment  of  appropriate
        legislation. Such exercise of legislative power  is  not  uncommon
        and would not interfere with  the  judicial  power  in  conducting
        trial and rendering the necessary judgment as to whether the guilt
        has been proved or not. The submission that the affidavit filed by
        Shri Youraj Laxman Waghmare, dated 1.10.2005, cannot be considered
        because it was not verified in accordance with  law  was  rejected
        with the observations that incorrect verification is  curable  and
        steps have been taken to cure the same. The  submissions  made  in
        Writ Petition 2450 of 2005 that the amendment would not  apply  to
        eating houses and would,  therefore,  not  be  applicable  in  the
        establishments of the petitioners therein was  also  rejected.  It
        was held that the  “place  of  public  interest”  includes  eating
        houses which serve alcohol for public consumption. It was  further
        observed that the amendment  covered  even  those  areas  in  such
        eating houses where alcohol was not served. The  High  Court  also
        rejected the challenge to  the  amendment  that  the  same  is  in
        violation of Article 15(1) of the Constitution of  India.  It  has
        been  observed  that   dancing   was   not   prohibited   in   the
        establishments covered under Section 33B only  on  the  ground  of
        sex.  What  is  being  prohibited   is   dancing   in   identified
        establishments. The Act prohibits all types  of  dance  in  banned
        establishments  by  any  person  or  persons.   There   being   no
        discrimination on the basis of gender, the Act cannot be  said  to
        violate Article 15(1) of the Constitution.

    88. The High Court has even rejected the  challenge  to  the  impugned
        amendment on the ground that the ban amounts  to  an  unreasonable
        restriction, on the fundamental right of the bar  owners  and  bar
        dancers, of freedom of  speech  and  expression  guaranteed  under
        Article 19(1)(a). The submission  was  rejected  by  applying  the
        doctrine of pith and substance. It has been held by the High Court
        that dance performed by the bar dancers can not  fall  within  the
        term “freedom of speech and expression” as the activities  of  the
        dancers are mainly to earn their livelihood by engaging in a trade
        or occupation.  Similarly, the submission that  the  provision  in
        Section 33A was ultra vires Article  21  of  the  Constitution  of
        India was rejected,  in view of the ratio of this  Court,  in  the
        case of  Sodan Singh & Ors. Vs. New Delhi  Municipal  Committee  &
        Ors.[40] wherein it is observed as follows :-
           “We do not find any merit in the argument founded on Article  21
           of the Constitution. In our opinion, Article 21 is not attracted
           in a case of trade or business – either big or small. The  right
           to carry on any trade or business and the concept  of  life  and
           personal  liberty  within  Article  21  are  too  remote  to  be
           connected together.”

    89. Since, no counter appeal has been filed by any of the  respondents
        challenging the aforesaid findings, it would  not  be  appropriate
        for us to opine on the correctness or otherwise of  the  aforesaid

    90. However in order to be fair to  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
        respondents, we must notice that in the written submissions it was
        sought  to  be  argued  that  in  fact  the  amendments  are  also
        unconstitutional under Articles 15(1), 19(1)(a) and 21. Dr. Dhawan
        has submitted that the High Court  has  erroneously  recorded  the
        finding that the dancing in a bar is not an expression of  dancers
        but  their  profession,  and,  therefore,  it  can  not  get   the
        protection of Article 19(1)(a). Similarly, he had  submitted  that
        the High Court in the impugned judgment has erroneously held  that
        the challenge to the amendment under Article 21 is too remote. The
        respondents, therefore, would invite this  Court  to  examine  the
        issue of “livelihood” under Article 142  of  the  Constitution  of
        India  being  “question  of  law  of  general  public  importance.
        According to Dr. Dhawan, the High Court ought  to  have  protected
        the bar dancers under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21  also.  As  noticed
        earlier, Mr. Rohatgi and Mr. Grover had made similar  submissions.
        We are, however,  not  inclined  to  examine  the  same  in  these
        proceedings.  No  separate  appeals  have  been   filed   by   the
        respondents specifically raising a challenge to  the  observations
        adverse to them made by the High Court. We make it very clear that
        we have not expressed any opinion on the correctness or  otherwise
        of the conclusions of the High Court with regard to  Sections  33A
        and 33B not being ultra vires Articles 15(1), 19(1)(a) and Article
        21. We have been constrained to adopt this approach:
           1)    Because there was no challenge to the conclusions of  the
                 High Court in appeal by respondents.

           2)    The learned senior  counsel  of  the  appellants  had  no
                 occasion  to  make  submissions   in   support   of   the
                 conclusions recorded by the High Court.

           3)    We are not inclined to exercise  our  jurisdiction  under
                 Article 142, as no manifest injustice has been caused  to
                 the respondents. Nor can it be said that the  conclusions
                 recorded by the High Court are palpably erroneous  so  as
                 to warrant interference, without  the  same  having  been
                 challenged by the respondents. We, therefore, decline the
                 request of Dr. Rajeev Dhawan.

    91. This now brings us to the central issue as to whether the findings
        recorded by the High Court that the impugned  amendment  is  ultra
        vires Article 14 and 19(1)(g) suffers from such  a  jurisdictional
        error that they cannot be sustained.

      Is the impugned legislation ultra vires Article 14?
    92. Before we embark upon the exercise to determine as to whether  the
        impugned amendment Act is ultra vires Article 14 and 19(1)(g),  it
        would be apposite to notice the well  established  principles  for
        testing any legislation before it can be declared as ultra  vires.
        It is not necessary for us  to  make  a  complete  survey  of  the
        judgments in which the various tests have been formulated and  re-
        affirmed. We may, however, make a reference  to  the  judgment  of
        this Court in Budhan Choudhry Vs. State of  Bihar[41],  wherein  a
        Constitution Bench of seven Judges of  this  Court  explained  the
        true meaning and scope of Article 14 as follows :-
           “It is now well established that while article 14 forbids  class
           legislation, it does not forbid  reasonable  classification  for
           the purposes of legislation. In order, however, to pass the test
           of permissible classification two conditions must be  fulfilled,
           namely, (i) that  the  classification  must  be  founded  on  an
           intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons  or  things
           that are grouped together from others left out of the group, and
           (ii) that that differentia must have a rational relation to  the
           object sought to be achieved by the  statute  in  question.  The
           classification  may  be  founded  on  different  bases,  namely,
           geographical, or according to  objects  or  occupations  or  the
           like. What is necessary is that there must be  a  nexus  between
           the basis of classification and the  object  of  the  Act  under
           consideration. It is also well established by the  decisions  of
           this Court that Article 14 condemns discrimination not only by a
           substantive law but also by a law of procedure.”

    93. The  aforesaid  principles  have  been  consistently  adopted  and
        applied in subsequent cases. In the case  of  Ram  Krishna  Dalmia
        (supra), this Court reiterated the principles which would help  in
        testing the legislation on the touchstone of  Article  14  in  the
        following words :
           “(a) That a law may be constitutional even though it relates  to
           a single individual if on account of some special  circumstances
           or reasons applicable to him and not applicable to others,  that
           single individual may be treated as a class by himself

           (b)  That  there  is  always  presumption  in  favour   of   the
           constitutionality of an enactment and the burden is upon him who
           attacks it to show that there has been a clear transgression  of
           the constitutional principles;

           (c) That it must he presumed that  the  legislature  understands
           and correctly appreciates the need of its own people,  that  its
           laws are directed to problems made manifest  by  experience  and
           that its discriminations are based on adequate grounds;

           (d) That the legislature is free to recognise  degrees  of  harm
           and may confine its restrictions to those cases where  the  need
           is deemed to be the clearest;

           (e)   That   in   order   to   sustain   the   presumption    of
           constitutionality the court may take into consideration  matters
           of common knowledge, matters of common report,  the  history  of
           the times and may assume every  state  of  facts  which  can  he
           conceived existing at the time of the legislation; and

           (f)  That  while  good  faith  and  knowledge  of  the  existing
           conditions on the part of the legislature are to be presumed, if
           there is nothing on the face  of  the  law  or  the  surrounding
           circumstances brought to the notice of the court  on  which  the
           classification may be  reasonably  be  regarded  as  based,  the
           presumption of constitutionality cannot be carried to the extent
           of always holding  that  there  must  be  some  undisclosed  and
           unknown  reasons   for   subjecting   certain   individuals   or
           corporations  to   hostile   or   discriminating   legislation."
                            (Italics are ours)

    94. These principles were  reiterated  by  this  Court  in  Shashikant
        Laxman Kale (supra). The relevant observations have  already  been
        noticed in the earlier part of the judgment.

    95. The High Court has held that the classification under Sections 33A
        and 33B was rational because the type of dance  performed  in  the
        establishments allowed them to  be  separated  into  two  distinct
        classes.  It is further observed that the classification does  not
        need to be scientifically perfect or logically complete.

    96. The High Court has,  however,  concluded  that  classification  by
        itself is not sufficient to relieve a statute from satisfying  the
        mandate of the equality clause of Article 14.  The  amendment  has
        been nullified on the second limb of the twin test to be satisfied
        under Article 14 of the Constitution of India that  the  amendment
        has  no  nexus  with  the  object  sought  to  be  achieved.   Mr.
        Subramanium had emphasised that the impugned enactment is based on
        consideration  of  different  factors,  which  would  justify  the
        classification.  We have earlier  noticed  the  elaborate  reasons
        given by Mr. Subramanium to show that the dance performed  in  the
        banned   establishments   itself   takes   a   form   of    sexual
        propositioning.  There is revenue sharing generated  by  the  tips
        received by the dancers.  He  had  also  emphasised  that  in  the
        banned  establishment  women,  who  dance  are  not   professional
        dancers.  They  are  mostly  trafficked  into  dancing.   Dancing,
        according to him, is chosen as a profession of last  resort,  when
        the girl is left with no other option.  On the other hand, dancers
        performing in  the  exempted  classes  are  highly  acclaimed  and
        established  performer.   They   are   economically   independent.
                 Such performers are not vulnerable and, therefore,  there
        is least likelihood of any indecency, immorality or depravity.  He
        had emphasised that classification to be valid  under  Article  14
        need not necessarily fall within an exact  or  scientific  formula
        for exclusion or inclusion of persons  or  things.  [See:  Welfare
        Association,   A.R.P.,   Maharashtra   (supra)]   There   are   no
        requirements of mathematical  exactness  or  applying  doctrinaire
        tests for determining the validity as long as it is  not  palpably
        arbitrary. (See: Shashikant Laxman Kale & Anr. (supra)).

    97. We have no hesitation in accepting the aforesaid  proposition  for
        testing the reasonableness of the classification.   However,  such
        classification has to be evaluated  by  taking  into  account  the
        objects and reasons of the impugned legislation; (See: Ram Krishna
        Dalmia’s case supra). In the present case, judging the distinction
        between the two sections upon the  aforesaid  criteria  cannot  be

    98. Section 33(a)(i) prohibits holding of a performance of  dance,  of
        any kind or type, in any eating house, permit room  or  beer  bar.
        This is a  complete  embargo  on  performance  of  dances  in  the
        establishment  covered  under  Section  33(a)(i).   Section  33(a)
        contains a non-obstante clause which makes the section stand alone
        and absolutely independent of the  act  and  the  rules.   Section
        33(a)(ii) makes it a criminal offence to hold a dance  performance
        in   contravention   of   sub-section(i).                       On
        conviction,  offender  is  liable  to  punishment  for  3   years,
        although, the Court may impose a lesser punishment of 3 months and
        fine, after recording special reasons for the  same.   We  are  in
        agreement  with  the  submission  of  Dr.  Dhawan  that  it  is  a
        particularly   harsh   provision.   On   the   other   hand,   the
        establishments covered under Section 33B enjoy complete  exemption
        from any such restrictions.  The dance performances are  permitted
        provided the establishments comply with the  applicable  statutory
        provisions, Bye-Laws, Rules and Regulations.   The  classification
        of the establishments covered under Sections 33A and 33B would not
        satisfy the test of equality laid down in the  case  of  State  of
        Jammu and Kashmir Vs. Shri Triloki Nath Khosa & Ors.[42],  wherein
        it was observed as under:
           “Classification, therefore, must be truly founded on substantial
           differences which  distinguish  persons  grouped  together  from
           those left out of the group  and  such  differential  attributes
           must bear a just and rational relation to the object  sought  to
           be achieved.”

    99. Further, this Court in E.V. Chinnaiah Vs. State of A.P. & Ors.[43]
        held that:
           “Legal constitutional policy adumbrated in a statute must answer
           the  test  of  Article  14  of  the   Constitution   of   India.
           Classification whether permissible or not must be judged on  the
           touchstone of the object sought to be achieved.”

   100.  Learned senior counsel for the appellants have sought to  justify
        the distinction  between  two  establishments,  first  of  all  as
        noticed earlier, on the basis of type of dance.  It was emphasised
        that the dance performed in the prohibited establishments,  itself
        takes a form of sexual propositioning.  It was submitted  that  it
        is not only just the type of dance performed but  the  surrounding
        circumstances which have been taken into consideration  in  making
        the distinction.  The distinction  is  sought  to  be  made  under
        different heads which we shall consider seriatim. It is emphasised
        that in the  banned  establishments,  the  proximity  between  the
        dancing platform and the audience is larger  than  at  the  banned
        establishments. An assumption is sought to be made from this  that
        there  would  hardly   be   any   access   to   the   dancers   in
                           the exempted establishments as opposed  to  the
        easy access in the banned or  prohibited  establishments.  Another
         justification given is that the type of  crowd  that  visits  the
        banned establishments is also different from the crowd that visits
        the exempted establishments. In our  opinion,  all  the  aforesaid
        reasons are neither supported by any  empirical  data  nor  common
        sense. In fact, they would be within the realm of “myth” based  on
        stereotype images. We  agree  with  the  submission  made  by  the
        learned counsel for the appellant,     Mr. Mukul Rohtagi  and  Dr.
        Dhawan that the distinction is made on the grounds of “classes  of
        establishments”  or  “classes  of  persons,   who   frequent   the
        establishment.” and not               on the form  of  dance.   We
        also agree with the submission of the learned senior  counsel  for
        the respondents that there is    no  justification  that  a  dance
        permitted  in  exempted    institutions  under  Section  33B,   if
        permitted  in  the  banned  establishment,  would  be  derogatory,
        exploitative or corrupting of public morality.  We are of the firm
        opinion that a distinction, the foundation of which is classes  of
        the establishments and classes/kind of persons, who  frequent  the
        establishment and those who own  the  establishments  can  not  be
        supported under the constitutional philosophy so clearly stated in
        the Preamble of the  Constitution  of  India  and  the  individual
        Articles prohibiting discrimination on the basis of caste, colour,
        creed, religion or gender. The Preamble  of  the  Constitution  of
        India as also Articles 14  to  21,  as  rightly  observed  in  the
        Constitutional  Bench  Judgment  of  this  Court  in  I.R.  Coelho
        (supra), form the heart and soul of the Constitution. Taking  away
        of these rights of equality by any legislation would require clear
        proof  of  the  justification  for  such  abridgment.   Once   the
        respondents  had  given  prima  facie  proof  of   the   arbitrary
        classification of the establishments under Sections 33A  and  33B,
        it was duty of the State to  justify  the  reasonableness  of  the
        classification. This  conclusion  of  ours  is  fortified  by  the
        observations  in           M/s. Laxmi Khandsari  (supra),  therein
        this Court observed as follow:
           “14. We, therefore, fully agree with the contention advanced  by
           the petitioners that where there is a clear violation of Article
           19(1)(g), the State  has  to  justify  by  acceptable  evidence,
           inevitable  consequences  or  sufficient  materials   that   the
           restriction, whether partial or complete, is in public  interest
           and contains the quality of reasonableness. This proposition has
           not been disputed by the counsel for the respondents, who  have,
           however, submitted that from  the  circumstances  and  materials
           produced by them the onus of proving that the  restrictions  are
           in public interest and are reasonable has been amply  discharged
           by them.”

   101. In our opinion, the appellants herein have failed to  satisfy  the
        aforesaid test laid down  by  this  court.  The  Counsel  for  the
        appellant  had,  however,  sought  to  highlight  before  us   the
        unhealthy practice of the customers showering money on the dancers
        during the performance, in  the  prohibited  establishments.  This
        encourages the girls to indulge in unhealthy competition to create
        and sustain sexual interest of the most  favoured  customers.  But
        such kind of behaviour is absent when the dancers  are  performing
        in the exempted establishments. It was again emphasised that it is
        not only the activities performed in  the  establishments  covered
        under Section 33 A, but also the surrounding  circumstances  which
        are calculated to produce an illusion of easy access to women. The
        customers who would be inebriated would pay  little  heed  to  the
        dignity or lack of consent of the  women.  This     conclusion  is
        sought to be supported by a number of complaints received  and  as
        well as case histories of girl children  rescued  from  the  dance
        bars. We are again not satisfied that the conclusions  reached  by
        the state are based on any rational criteria. We fail to  see  how
        exactly the same dances can be said to be  morally  acceptable  in
        the exempted                                    establishments and
        lead  to  depravity   if   performed                      in   the
        prohibited establishments. Rather it  is  evident  that  the  same
        dancer can perform the same dance in the high class hotels, clubs,
        and gymkhanas but is prohibited of doing so in the  establishments
        covered under Section 33A. We see no rationale which would justify
        the conclusion that a dance that leads to depravity in  one  place
        would get converted to an acceptable performance by a mere  change
        of venue. The         discriminatory  attitude  of  the  state  is
        illustrated by the fact that an infringement of section 33A(1)  by
        an establishment  covered  under  the  aforesaid  provision  would
        entail the owner being liable to be imprisoned for three years  by
        virtue of section 33A(2). On the other hand, no such punishment is
        prescribed for establishments covered under Section 33B.  Such  an
        establishment  would  merely  lose  the  licence.   Such   blatant
        discrimination cannot possibly be justified  on  the  criteria  of
        reasonable classification under Article 14 of  the    Constitution
        of India.   Mr. Subramaniam had placed strong reliance     on  the
        observations made by the Court in the State of Uttar  Pradesh  Vs.
        Kaushailiya & Ors. (supra), wherein it was observed as follows:
           “7. The next question is whether the policy so disclosed offends
           Article 14 of the Constitution. It has been  well  settled  that
           Article 14 does not prohibit reasonable classification  for  the
           purpose of legislation and that a  law  would  not  be  held  to
           infringe Article 14 of the Constitution if the classification is
           founded on an intelligible differentia and the said  differentia
           has a rational relation to the object sought to be  achieved  by
           the  said  law.  The  differences  between  a  woman  who  is  a
           prostitute and one who is  not  certainly  justify  their  being
           placed  in  different  classes.  So  too,  there   are   obvious
           differences between a prostitute who is a  public  nuisance  and
           one who is not. A prostitute who carries on her trade on the sly
           or in the unfrequented part of the town or  in  a  town  with  a
           sparse population may not  so  dangerous  to  public  health  or
           morals as a prostitute who lives in a busy  locality  or  in  an
           over-crowded town or in a place within the easy reach of  public
           institutions like religious and educational institutions. Though
           both sell their bodies, the latter is far more dangerous to  the
           public,  particularly  to  the  younger  generation  during  the
           emotional stage of their life.  Their  freedom  of  uncontrolled
           movement in a crowded locality or  in  the  vicinity  of  public
           institutions not only helps to  demoralise  the  public  morals,
           but, what is worse, to spread diseases not  only  affecting  the
           present generation, but also the  future  ones.  Such  trade  in
           public may also lead to scandals and unseemly broils. There are,
           therefore, pronounced and real differences between a  woman  who
           is a prostitute and one who is not, and  between  a  prostitute,
           who does not demand in public interests any restrictions on  her
           movements and a prostitute, whose actions in public places  call
           for the imposition of restrictions on  her  movements  and  even
           deporation. The object of the Act, as has already been  noticed,
           is not only to suppress immoral traffic in women and girls,  but
           also to improve public morals by removing prostitute  from  busy
           public places in  the  vicinity  of  religious  and  educational
           institutions. The  differences  between  these  two  classes  of
           prostitutes have a rational relation to the object sought to  be
           achieved by the Act.”

   102. We fail to see how any of the above observations are of  relevance
        in present context. The so called distinction is     based  purely
        on the basis of the class of the performer and     the  so  called
        superior class of audience. Our judicial    conscience  would  not
        permit us to presume that the class to which an individual or  the
        audience  belongs  brings  with            him  as   a   necessary
        concomitant a particular kind  of  morality  or  decency.  We  are
        unable to accept the presumption which     runs  through  Sections
        33A and 33B that the enjoyment of same kind  of  entertainment  by
        the upper classes leads only to mere enjoyment and in the case  of
        poor classes; it would       lead  to  immorality,  decadence  and
        depravity. Morality           and depravity cannot be pigeon-holed
        by degrees  depending  upon  the  classes  of  the  audience.  The
        aforesaid presumption is also perplexing on the ground that in the
        banned establishments even a non-obscene dance would be treated as
        vulgar. On the other hand,  it  would  be  presumed  that  in  the
        exempted establishments any dance is non-obscene.  The  underlying
        presumption at  once  puts  the  prohibited  establishments  in  a
        precarious position, in comparison to the exempted class  for  the
        grant of a licence to hold a dance performance.  Yet at  the  same
        time, both kinds of establishments are to be granted licenses  and
        regulated by  the  same  restrictions,  regulations  and  standing

   103.     We, therefore, decline to accept the  submission  of       Mr.
        Subramaniam that the same kind of dances performed in the exempted
        establishments would not bring about               sexual  arousal
        in male audience as opposed to the male audience  frequenting  the
        banned establishments meant for the lower  classes  having  lesser
        income at their disposal.  In  our  opinion,  the  presumption  is
        elitist,  which  cannot  be  countenanced  under  the  egalitarian
        philosophy of our Constitution. Our Constitution makers have taken
        pains to ensure that equality of treatment in all spheres is given
        to all citizens of this country irrespective of their  station  in
        life. {See: Charanjit Lal Chowdhury Vs.  Union  of  India  &  Ors.
        (supra), Ram Krishna Dalmia’s case  (supra)  and  State  of  Uttar
        Pradesh Vs. Kaushailiya & Ors. (supra)}. In our opinion,  sections
        33A and 33B introduce an invidious discrimination which cannot  be
        justified under Article 14 of the Constitution.

   104. The High Court, in our opinion, has rightly declined to rely  upon
        the  Prayas  and  Shubhada  Chaukar’s  report.   The   number   of
        respondents interviewed was so miniscule as  to  render  both  the
        studies meaningless. As noticed  earlier,  the  subsequent  report
        submitted by SNDT University has  substantially  contradicted  the
        conclusions reached by the other two reports. The situation herein
        was not similar to the circumstances which led to the decision  in
        the case of Radice (supra). In that case, a New York  Statute  was
        challenged as it prohibited employment of women in restaurants  in
        cities of first and second class between hours of 10  p.m.  and  6
        a.m., on the ground of (1) due process clause,  by  depriving  the
        employer and employee of their liberty to contract,  and  (2)  the
        equal  protection  clause  by  an   unreasonable   and   arbitrary
        classification. The Court upheld  the  legislation  on  the  first
        ground that the State had come to the conclusion that  night  work
        prohibited, so injuriously threatens to  impair  women’s  peculiar
        and natural functions. Such work, according to the State,  exposes
        women to the dangers and menaces incidental to night life in large
        cities. Therefore, it was permissible  to  enable  the  police  to
        preserve and promote the public health and welfare. The  aforesaid
        conclusion was, however, based on one very important factor  which
        was that “the legislature had before it a mass of information from
        which it concluded that night work is substantially and especially
        detrimental to the health of women.” In our  opinion,  as  pointed
        out by the learned counsel for the  respondents,  in  the  present
        case, there was little or no material on the basis  of  which  the
        State  could  have  concluded  that  dancing  in  the   prohibited
        establishments was likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public
        morality or morals.

   105. The next justification for the so called intelligible  differentia
        is  on  the  ground  that  women  who  perform   in   the   banned
        establishment  are  a  vulnerable  lot.  They  come  from  grossly
        deprived backgrounds. According to the appellants,  most  of  them
        are trafficked into bar dancing.  We  are  unable  to  accept  the
        aforesaid submission. A perusal of the  Objects  and  the  Reasons
        would show that the impugned legislation proceed on  a  hypothesis
        that different dance bars are being  used  as  meeting  points  of
        criminals and pick up points of the girls.  But  the  Objects  and
        Reasons say nothing about any evidence having  been  presented  to
        the Government that these dance  bars  are  actively  involved  in
        trafficking  of  women.  In  fact,  this  plea  with   regard   to
        trafficking of women was projected  for  the  first  time  in  the
        affidavit filed before the High Court.  The aforesaid  plea  seems
        to have been raised only on the basis of the  reports  which  were
        submitted after the ban was imposed. We have earlier  noticed  the
        extracts from the various reports.   In our opinion, such isolated
        examples would not be sufficient to establish  the  connection  of
        the dance bars covered under section  33A  with  trafficking.  We,
        therefore, reject the submission of the appellants  that  the  ban
        has been placed for the protection of the vulnerable women.

   106. The next justification  given  by  the  learned  counsel  for  the
        appellants  is  on  the  basis  of  degree  of   harm   which   is
        being caused to the atmosphere in the  banned  establishments  and
        the surrounding areas. Undoubtedly as held by this  Court  in  the
        Ram Krishna Dalmia’s case (supra),  the  Legislature  is  free  to
        recognize the degrees of harm and may confine its restrictions  to
        those cases where the need is deemed to be clearest. We also agree
        with the observations of the U.S. Court in Joseph  Patsone’s  case
        (supra) that the state may direct its law against  what  it  deems
        the evil as it actually exists without covering the whole field of
        possible abuses, but such conclusion have to be reached either  on
        the basis of general consensus  shared  by  the  majority  of  the
        population or on the basis of empirical data. In our opinion,  the
        State neither        had  the  empirical  data  to  conclude  that
        dancing in  the  prohibited  establishment  necessarily  leads  to
        depravity and corruption of public morals nor  was  there  general
           consensus that  such  was  the  situation.  The  three  reports
        presented before the High Court in fact have  presented  divergent
        view points.  Thus, the observations made in the  case  of  Joseph
        Patsone (supra) are not of any help to the appellant. We are  also
        conscious of the observations made by this court in case of  Mohd.
        Hanif Quareshi (supra), wherein  it  was  held  that  there  is  a
        presumption that the legislature understands and  appreciates  the
        needs of its people and that its laws  are  directed  to  problems
        made manifest by experience and that its discriminations are based
        on adequate grounds. In the present case, the appellant has failed
        to give any details of any experience  which  would  justify  such
        blatant discrimination, based purely on the class or  location  of
        an establishment.

   107.    We are of the opinion that the State has failed to justify  the
        classification between the exempted establishments and  prohibited
        establishments on  the  basis  of  surrounding  circumstances;  or
        vulnerability. Undoubtedly, the legislature is the best  judge  to
        measure the degree of harm and make reasonable classification  but
        when such a classification is challenged the State is  duty  bound
        to disclose the reasons for the ostensible  conclusions.   In  our
        opinion, in the present case,  the  legislation  is  based  on  an
        unacceptable presumption that the so called elite  i.e.  rich  and
        the famous would have higher standards  of  decency,  morality  or
        strength of character than their counter parts who have to content
        themselves with lesser facilities of inferior quality in the dance
        bars. Such a presumption  is  abhorrent  to  the  resolve  in  the
        Preamble of the Constitution to  secure  the  citizens  of  India.
        “Equality  of  status  and  opportunity   and   dignity   of   the
        individual”. The State Government presumed that the performance of
        an identical dance item in the  establishments  having  facilities
        less               than 3 stars would be derogative to the dignity
        of women and would be likely to deprave, corrupt or injure  public
        morality  or  morals;  but  would  not  be  so  in  the   exempted
        establishments. These are misconceived motions  of  a  bygone  era
        which ought not to be resurrected.

   108.   Incongruously, the State  does  not  find  it  to  be  indecent,
        immoral or derogatory to the dignity of  women  if  they  take  up
        other positions in the same establishments such  as  receptionist,
        waitress or bar tender.  The women that serve liquor and  beer  to
        customers do not arouse lust in customers but women dancing  would
        arouse lust.  In our opinion, if certain kind of dance is sensuous
        in nature and if it causes sexual arousal in men it cannot be said
        to be more in  the  prohibited  establishments  and  less  in  the
        exempted establishments.  Sexual arousal and lust in men and women
        and degree thereof, cannot be said to be monopolized by the  upper
        or the lower classes. Nor can it be presumed that  sexual  arousal
        would generate different character of behaviour, depending on  the
        social strata of the audience. History is replete with examples of
        crimes of lust committed in the highest echelons of the society as
        well as in the lowest  levels  of  society.  The  High  Court  has
        rightly observed, relying on the observations  of  this  Court  in
        Gaurav Jain Vs. Union of India[44], that “prostitution in  5  star
        hotels is a licence given to a person from  higher  echelon”.   In
        our opinion, the activities which are obscene or which are  likely
        to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such  immoral
        influences, cannot be distinguished on the  basis  as  to  whether
        they are performing in 5  star  hotels  or  in  dance  bars.   The
        judicial conscience of this Court would not  give  credence  to  a
        notion that high morals and  decent  behaviour  is  the  exclusive
        domain of the upper classes; whereas vulgarity  and  depravity  is
        limited to the lower classes.   Any  classification  made  on  the
        basis of such invidious presumption is liable to  be  struck  down
        being wholly unconstitutional and particularly contrary to Article
        14 of the Constitution of India.

      Is the impugned legislation ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) –

   109.     It was submitted by the learned  counsel  for  the  appellants
        that by prohibiting dancing under Section 33A, no right of the bar
        owners  for  carrying  on  a      business/profession   is   being
        infringed  [See:  Fertilizer  Corporation  Kamgar  Union  (Regd.),
        Sindri & Ors. (supra)]. The curbs are imposed by Section  33A  and
        33B only to restrict the owners in the  prohibited  establishments
        from permitting dance to be conducted in the interest  of  general
        public. Since the dances conducted in establishments covered under
        Section 33A were obscene, they would fall in the category  of  res
        extra commercium and would not be  protected  by  the  fundamental
        right under Article 19(1)(g). The submission is also sought to  be
        supported by placing a reliance  on  the  reports  of  Prayas  and
        Subhada  Chaukar.  The  restriction  is  also   placed   to   curb
        exploitation of the vulnerability of the young girls who come from
        poverty stricken background  and  are  prone  to  trafficking.  In
        support of the submission, the learned counsel relied on a  number
        of judgments of  this  Court  as  well  as  the  American  Courts,
        including Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad  (supra),
        wherein it was held  that  the  expression  “in  the  interest  of
        general public” under Article 19(6) inter alia includes protecting
        morality. The relationship between law and morality has  been  the
        subject of jurisprudential discourse for centuries. The  questions
        such as: Is the development of  law  influenced  by  morals?  Does
        morality always define  the  justness  of  the  law?  Can  law  be
        questioned on grounds of morality?  and above all, Can morality be
        enforced  through  law?,  have  been  subject   matter   of   many
        jurisprudential studies for over at least a century and half.  But
        no reference has been made to any  such  studies  by  any  of  the
        learned senior counsel. Therefore, we shall not dwell on the same.

   110. Upon analyzing the entire fact situation, the High Court has  held
        that dancing would be a fundamental right and cannot  be  excluded
        by dubbing the same as res extra commercium. The State has  failed
        to establish that the restriction is reasonable or that it  is  in
        the interest of general public. The High Court rightly scrutinized
        the impugned legislation in the  light  of  observations  of  this
        Court made in Narendra Kumar (supra), wherein  it  was  held  that
        greater the restriction, the more the need for scrutiny. The  High
        Court noticed that in the guise of regulation, the legislation has
        imposed a total ban on dancing in the establishments covered under
        Section  33A.  The  High  Court  has  also  concluded   that   the
        legislation has failed to  satisfy  the  doctrine  of  direct  and
        inevitable effect [See: Maneka Gandhi’s case (supra)]. We  see  no
        reason to differ with the conclusions recorded by the High  Court.
        We agree with Mr. Rohatgi and Dr. Dhawan that  there  are  already
        sufficient rules and regulations and legislation in  place  which,
        if efficiently applied, would control if  not  eradicate  all  the
        dangers to the society enumerated in the Preamble and Objects  and
        Reasons of the impugned legislation.

   111. The activities of the eating houses, permit rooms  and  beer  bars
        are controlled by the following regulations:
           A.    Bombay Municipal Corporation Act.
           B.    Bombay Police Act, 1951.
           C.    Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949.
           D.    Rules for Licensing  and  Controlling  Places  of  Public
                 Entertainment, 1953.
           E.    Rules for Licensing  and  controlling  Places  of  Public
                 Amusement other that Cinemas.
           F.    And other orders are passed by the Government  from  time
                 to time.

   112.  The  Restaurants/Dance   Bar   owners   also   have   to   obtain
        licenses/permissions as listed below:
           i.    Licence and  Registration  for  eating  house  under  the
                 Bombay Police Act, 1951.
           ii.   License under the Bombay  Shops  and  Establishment  Act,
                 1948 and the Rules thereunder.
           iii.  Eating House license under Sections 394, 412A, 313 of the
                 Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
           iv.   Health License under the Maharashtra Prevention  of  Food
                 Adulteration Rules, 1962.
           v.    Health License under  the  Mumbai  Municipal  Corporation
                 Act, 1888 for serving liquor;
           vi.   Performance License under  Rules  118  of  the  Amusement
                 Rules, 1960 ;
           vii.  Premises license under Rules 109 of the amusement Rules;
           viii.       License to keep a  place  of  Public  Entertainment
                 under Section 33(1), clause (w) and  (y)  of  the  Bombay
                 Police Act, 1951 and the said Entertainment Rules;
           ix.   FL III License under the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 and
                 the Rules 45 of the Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953  or
                 a Form “E” license under the Special Permits  &  Licenses
                 Rules for selling or serving IMFL & Beer.
           x.    Suitability certificate under the Amusement Rules.

   113. Before any of the licenses  are  granted,  the  applicant  has  to
        fulfil the following conditions :
           (i)   Any application for premises license shall accompanied by
                 the site-plan indicating inter-alia the distance  of  the
                 site  from  any  religious,  educational  institution  or
           (ii)  The distance between the proposed place of amusement  and
                 the  religious   place   or   hospital   or   educational
                 institution shall be more than 75 metres.
           (iii)       The proposed place of amusement shall not have been
                 located in the congested and thickly populated area.
           (iv)  The proposed site must be located on a road having  width
                 of more than 10 metres.
           (v)   The owners/partners of the proposed  place  of  amusement
                 must not have been arrested or detained  for  anti-social
                 or  any  such  activities  or  convicted  for  any   such
           (vi)  The  distance  between  two  machines  which  are  to  be
                 installed in the video parlour shall be reflected in  the
           (vii)       No similar place of public amusement exists  within
                 a radius of 75 metres.
                 (b) The conditions mentioned  in  the  license  shall  be
                 observed throughout the period for which the  license  is
                 granted and if there is  a  breach  of  any  one  of  the
                 conditions, the license is likely to be  cancelled  after
                 following the usual procedure.

   114.  The  aforesaid  list,  enactments  and  regulations  are  further
        supplemented with regulations protecting the dignity of women. The
        provisions of  Bombay  Police  Act,  1951  and  more  particularly
        Section 33(1)(w) of the said Act empowers the Licensing  Authority
        to  frame  Rules  ‘”licensing  or  controlling  places  of  public
        amusement or entertainment and also for taking necessary steps  to
        prevent  inconvenience  to  residents   or   passers-by   or   for
        maintaining public safety and for taking necessary  steps  in  the
        interests of public order, decency and morality.”

   115. Rules 122 and 123 of the  Amusement  Rules,  1960  also  prescribe
        conditions for holding performances.
           “Rule 122 – Acts prohibited  by  the  holder  of  a  Performance
           Licence : No person holding a performance  Licence  under  these
           Rules shall, in the beginning, during any interval or at the end
           of any performance, or during the  course  of  any  performance,
           exhibition, production, display or staging,  permit  or  himself
           commit on the stage or any part of the auditorium :-

           (a) any profanity or impropriety of language ;

           (b) any indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture;

           Similar conditions and restrictions are  also  prescribed  under
           the Performance Licence :

           “The Licensee shall not, at any time before, during  the  course
           of or subsequent to  any  performance,  exhibition,  production,
           display or staging, permit or himself commit on the stage or  in
           any part of the auditorium or outside it :

                 (i) any exhibition  or  advertisement  whether  by  way  of
                 posters or  in  the  newspapers,  photographs  of  nude  or
                 scantily dressed women;

                 (ii) any performance  at  a  place  other  than  the  place
                 provided for the purpose;

                 (iii)  any  mixing  of  the  cabaret  performers  with  the
                 audience or any physical contact by touch or otherwise with
                 any member of the audience;

                 (iv) any act specifically prohibited by the rules.”

   116. The Rules under the Bombay Police Act, 1951 have  been  framed  in
        the interest of public safety and social welfare and to  safeguard
        the dignity of women as well as  prevent  exploitation  of  women.
        There is no material placed on record by the State to show that it
        was not possible to deal with the situation within  the  framework
        of the existing laws except for the unfounded conclusions recorded
        in the Preamble as well the Objects and Reasons.  [See:  State  of
        Gujarat Vs. Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat  (supra)],  wherein
        it  is  held  that  the  standard  of  judging  reasonability   of
        restriction or restrictions amounting to prohibition  remains  the
        same, except that a total prohibition must also satisfy  the  test
        that a lesser alternative would be  inadequate].  The  Regulations
        framed under Section 33(w) of  the  Bombay  Police  Act,  more  so
        Regulations 238 and 242 provide that the licensing  authority  may
        suspend or  cancel  a  licence  for  any  breach  of  the  license
        conditions. Regulation 241 empowers the licensing authority or any
        authorised Police Officer, not below the rank of Sub Inspector, to
        direct  the  stoppage  of  any  performance   forthwith   if   the
        performance is found to  be  objectionable.  Section  162  of  the
        Bombay  Police   Act   empowers   a   Competent   Authority/Police
        Commissioner/District Magistrate to suspend or  revoke  a  license
        for breach of its conditions. Thus,  sufficient  power  is  vested
        with the Licensing Authority to safeguard any perceived  violation
        of the dignity of women through obscene dances.

   117. From the objects of the impugned legislation and amendment itself,
        it is crystal clear that the legislation was brought about on  the
        admission of the police that it is unable to  effectively  control
        the situation in spite of  the  existence  of  all  the  necessary
        legislation, rules and regulations.  One of the  submissions  made
        on behalf of the appellants was to the effect that it is  possible
        to  control  the  performances  which   are   conducted   in   the
        establishments fall within Section 33B; the reasons  advanced  for
        the aforesaid only highlight the stereotype myths that  people  in
        upper strata of society behave in orderly and  moralistic  manner.
        There is no independent empirical material to show that propensity
        of immorality or depravity would be any less in these  high  class
        establishments. On the other hand, it is the  specific  submission
        of  the  appellants  that  the  activities  conducted  within  the
        establishments covered  under  Section  33A  have  the  effect  of
        vitiating the atmosphere not only within  the  establishments  but
        also in the surrounding locality. According to the learned counsel
        for  the  appellants,  during  dance  in  the  bars  dancers  wore
        deliberately provocative dresses.  The  dance  becomes  even  more
        provocative and sensual when such behaviour is mixed with alcohol.
        It has the tendency to lead to undesirable results.  Reliance  was
        placed upon State of  Bombay  Vs.  R.M.D.  Chamarbaugwala  &  Anr.
        (supra), Khoday Distilleries Ltd. & Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka  &
        Ors. (supra), State of Punjab & Anr. Vs. Devans  Modern  Breweries
        Ltd. & Anr. (supra), New York State Liquor  Authority  Vs.  Dennis
        BELLANCA, DBA The Main Event,  Et  Al.(supra),  Regina  Vs.  Bloom
        (supra) to substantiate  the  aforesaid  submissions.   Therefore,
        looking at the degree of harm caused by such behaviour, the  State
        enacted the impugned legislation.

   118. We are undoubtedly bound by  the  principles  enunciated  by  this
        Court in the aforesaid cases, but these are not applicable to  the
        facts  and  circumstances  of  the  present  case.     In   Khoday
        Distilleries  Ltd.  (supra),  it  was  held  that  there   is   no
        fundamental right inter alia to do  trafficking  in  women  or  in
        slaves or to  carry  on  business  of  exhibiting  and  publishing
        pornographic or  obscene  films  and  literature.   This  case  is
        distinguishable because the unfounded presumption that  women  are
        being/were trafficked in the bars. The case of State of  Punjab  &
        Anr. Vs. Devans Modern Breweries Ltd. & Anr.  (supra)  dealt  with
        liquor trade, whereas the present case is clearly different.   The
        reliance on New York State Liquor Authority (supra) is  completely
        unfounded because in that case endeavour of the State was directed
        towards prohibiting topless dancing in an  establishment  licensed
        to serve liquor.  Similarly, Regina Vs. Bloom (supra)  dealt  with
        indecent performances in a disorderly house. Hence, this case will
        also not help the appellants. Therefore, we are not impressed with
        any of these submissions. All the activities mentioned  above  can
        be controlled under the existing regulations.

   119.    We do not agree with the submission of                      Mr.
        Subramanium that the impugned enactment is a  form  of  additional
        regulation, as it was felt that the existing system of licence and
        permits were insufficient to deal with problem of ever  increasing
        dance bars. We also do not agree with the submissions that whereas
        exempted establishments are held to standards  higher  than  those
        prescribed; the eating houses, permit rooms and dance bars operate
        beyond/below the control of the regulations. Another justification
        given is that though it may be possible to regulate  these  permit
        rooms and dance bars which are located within Mumbai, it would not
        be possible to regulate such establishments in the semi-urban  and
        rural parts of the Maharashtra.  If  that  is  so,  it  is  a  sad
        reflection  on  the   efficiency   of   the   Licensing/Regulatory
        Authorities in implementing the legislation.

   120. The end result of the prohibition of any form of  dancing  in  the
        establishments  covered  under  Section  33A  leads  to  the  only
        conclusion that these establishments have to shut  down.  This  is
        evident from the fact that since 2005, most if not all  the  dance
        bar establishments have literally closed down. This has led to the
        unemployment of over 75,000 women workers. It has been brought  on
        the record that many of  them  have  been  compelled  to  take  up
        prostitution out of necessity for maintenance of  their  families.
        In our opinion, the impugned legislation has proved to be  totally
        counter productive and  cannot  be  sustained  being  ultra  vires
        Article 19(1)(g).

   121. We are also not able to agree  with  the  submission  of       Mr.
        Subramanium that the impugned legislation can still  be  protected
        by reading down the provision. Undoubtedly, this Court in the case
        of Government of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. Vs. P.  Laxmi  Devi  (Smt.)
        (supra) upon taking notice of the  previous  precedents  has  held
        that the legislature must be given freedom to do  experimentations
        in exercising  its  powers,  provided  it  does  not  clearly  and
        flagrantly violate its constitutional limits,  these  observations
        are of no avail to the appellants in view of the opinion expressed
        by us earlier. It is not possible to read down the expression “any
        kind or type” of dance by any person  to  mean  dances  which  are
        obscene and derogatory to the dignity of women. Such reading  down
        cannot be permitted so long as any kind of dance is  permitted  in
        establishments covered under Section 33B.

   122. We are also unable to accept the  submission  of               Mr.
        Subramanium that the provisions contained in Section  33A  can  be
        declared constitutional by applying the doctrine of  severability.
        Even if Section 33B is declared unconstitutional, it  would  still
        retain the provision contained in Section 33A which prohibits  any
        kind of dance by any person in the  establishments  covered  under
        Section 33A.

   123. In our opinion, it  would  be  more  appropriate  that  the  State
        Government re-examines the recommendations made by  the  Committee
        which had been constituted by the State Government comprising of a
        Chairman of AHAR, Public and Police Officials and chaired  by  the
        Principal Secretary (E.I.), Home  Department.  The  Committee  had
        prepared a report and submitted the same to the State  Government.
        The State Government had in fact sent a communication  dated  16th
        July,  2004  to  all  District  Judicial  Magistrates  and  Police
        Commissioner to amend the rules for exercising  control  on  Hotel
        Establishments presenting dance programmes. The  suggestions  made
        for the amendment of the Regulations were as follows :
           (1)   Bar girls dancing in dance bars should not  wear  clothes
                 which  expose  the  body  and  also   there   should   be
                 restriction on such dancers wearing tight and provocative
           (2)   There should be a railing of 3 ft. height adjacent to the
                 dance stage. There should be distance of  5  ft.  between
                 the railing and seats for the customers.  In  respect  of
                 dance bars who have secured licences earlier,  provisions
                 mentioned above  be  made  binding.  It  should  be  made
                 binding on  dance  bars  seeking  new  licences  to  have
                 railing of 3 ft. height adjacent to the stage and leaving
                 a distance of 5  ft.  between  the  railing  and  sitting
                 arrangement for customers.
           (3)   Area of dance floor should be minimum 10 x  12  ft.  i.e.
                 120 sq. ft. and the area to be provided for  such  dancer
                 should be minimum of 15 sq.  ft.  so  that  more  than  8
                 dancers cannot dance simultaneously on the  stage  having
                 area of 12- sq. ft.
           (4)   If the dancers are to be awarded, there should be  a  ban
                 on going near them or on showering money on them. Instead
                 it should be made binding to collect the  said  money  in
                 the name of manager of the concerned dancer  or  to  hand
                 over to the manager.
           (5)   Apart from the above, a register should be maintained  in
                 the dance bar to take  entries  of  names  of  the  girls
                 dancing in the bar every day. Similarly, holders  of  the
                 establishment should  gather  information  such  a  name,
                 address, photograph and citizenship and  other  necessary
                 information  of  the   dance   girls.   Holder   of   the
                 establishment should be made responsible  to  verify  the
                 information furnished by  the  dance  girls.  Also  above
                 conditions should be incorporated in the  licences  being

   124.  Despite  the  directions  made  by  the  State  Government,   the
        authorities have not taken steps to implement the  recommendations
        which have been submitted by AHAR. On the contrary,  the  impugned
        legislation was enacted in 2005. In our opinion, it would be  more
        appropriate to bring about measures which should ensure the safety
        and improve the working conditions of the persons working  as  bar
        girls. In similar circumstances, this Court in the  case  of  Anuj
        Garg (supra) had made certain observations indicating that instead
        of putting curbs on women’s freedom,  empowerment  would  be  more
        tenable  and  socially  wise  approach.  This  empowerment  should
        reflect in the law enforcement strategies of the State as well  as
        law modeling done in this behalf. In our opinion, in  the  present
        case, the restrictions in the nature of prohibition cannot be said
        to be reasonable,  inasmuch  as  there  could  be  several  lesser
        alternatives available which would have been  adequate  to  ensure
        safety of women than to completely  prohibit  dance.  In  fact,  a
        large number of  imaginative  alternative  steps  could  be  taken
        instead of completely prohibiting dancing, if the real concern  of
        the State is the safety of women.

   125. Keeping in view the aforesaid circumstances, we are  not  inclined
        to interfere with the  conclusions  reached  by  the  High  Court.
        Therefore, we find no merit in these  appeals  and  the  same  are
        accordingly dismissed.

   126. All interim orders are hereby vacated.

                                             [Altamas Kabir]

                                             [Surinder  Singh   Nijjar]

      New Delhi;
      July 16, 2013.

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2705 OF 2006

1 State of Maharashtra & Anr.                … Appellants


           2 Indian Hotel & Restaurants Assn.

3 & Ors.                                           … Respondents

                                   4 WITH


                       6 Civil Appeal No. 2704 of 2006

                                    7 and

                       8 Civil Appeal No.5504 of 2013

               9 [Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 14534 of 2006]


                               J U D G M E N T


1.    Having had an opportunity of going through the masterly exposition  of
the law  in  the  crucible  of  facts  relating  to  the  violation  of  the
provisions of Articles 19(1)(a), 19(1)(g) and 21 of  the  Constitution  read
with the relevant provisions of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, I wish  to  pen
down some of my thoughts vis-a-vis the problem arising in all these  matters
requiring the balancing of equities under Articles 19(1)(g) and  21  of  the

2.    The expression “the cure is worse than  the  disease”  comes  to  mind

3.    As will appear from  the  judgment  of  my  learned  Brother,  Justice
Nijjar, the discontinuance of bar dancing in establishments below  the  rank
of three star establishments, has led to the closure of a  large  number  of
establishments, which has resulted in loss of employment for about  seventy-
five thousand women employed in the dance bars in  various  capacities.   In
fact, as has also been commented upon by my learned Brother, many  of  these
unfortunate people were forced into prostitution merely to survive, as  they
had no other means of survival.

4.    Of course, the right to practise a trade or profession and  the  right
to life guaranteed under Article 21 are, by their very nature,  intermingled
with each other, but in a situation like the present one, such right  cannot
be equated with unrestricted freedom like a run-away  horse.   As  has  been
indicated by my learned Brother, at the very end of his judgment,  it  would
be better to treat the cause than to blame  the  effect  and  to  completely
discontinue the livelihood of  a  large  section  of  women,  eking  out  an
existence by dancing in bars, who will be left to the mercy of  other  forms
of exploitation.  The compulsion of physical needs has to be taken  care  of
while making any laws on the subject.  Even a bar dancer has to satisfy  her
hunger, provide expenses for her family and meet  day  to  day  expenses  in
travelling from her residence to her place of work, which is sometimes  even
as far as 20 to 25 kms. away.  Although, it has been  argued  on  behalf  of
the State and its authorities  that  the  bar  dancers  have  taken  to  the
profession not as an extreme measure, but as a profession  of  choice,  more
often than not, it is a Hobson's choice between starving  and  in  resorting
to bar dancing.  From the materials placed  before  us  and  the  statistics
shown, it is apparent that many of the bar dancers have no other  option  as
they have no other skills, with which they  could  earn  a  living.   Though
some of the women engaged in bar dancing may be doing  so  as  a  matter  of
choice, not very many women would willingly  resort  to  bar  dancing  as  a

5.    Women worldwide are becoming more and more assertive of  their  rights
and want to be free to make their own choices,  which  is  not  an  entirely
uncommon or unreasonable approach.  But it is necessary to  work  towards  a
change in mindset of people in general not only by way  of  laws  and  other
forms of regulations, but also by way of providing  suitable  amenities  for
those who want to get out of this trap and to either improve their  existing
conditions or to begin a new life altogether.  Whichever way  one  looks  at
it, the  matter  requires  the  serious  attention  of  the  State  and  its
authorities, if the dignity of women, as a whole, and respect for  them,  is
to be restored.  In  that  context,  the  directions  given  by  my  learned
Brother, Justice Nijjar, assume importance.

6.    I fully endorse the suggestions made in paragraph 123 of the  judgment
prepared by my learned Brother that, instead of generating unemployment,  it
may be wiser for the State to look into ways and means in  which  reasonable
restrictions  may  be  imposed  on  bar  dancing,  but  without   completely
prohibiting or stopping the same.

7.    It is all very well to enact laws without making them effective.   The
State has to provide alternative means of support  and  shelter  to  persons
engaged in such trades or professions, some  of  whom  are  trafficked  from
different parts of the country and have nowhere  to  go  or  earn  a  living
after  coming  out  of  their  unfortunate  circumstances.   A  strong   and
effective support system may provide a solution to the problem.

8.    These words are in addition to and not in

derogation of the judgment delivered by my learned Brother.


                                                             (ALTAMAS KABIR)

New Delhi

Dated: July 16, 2013.

[1]    (1990) 4 SCC 366
[2]    (2003) 9 SCC 358
[3]    AIR 1964 SC 416
[4]    AIR 1958 SC 538
[5]    232 U.S. 138 (1914)

[6]    234 U.S.224 (1913)
[7]    264 U.S. 292 (1924)
[8]    AIR 1958 SC 731
[9]    (1983) 1 SCC 51

[10]   413 U.S. 49 [1973]

[11]   1954 SCR 30

[12]   AIR 2006 SC 212
[13]   (1986) 3 SCC 20
[14]   [1953] 4 SCR 290

[15]   AIR 1957 SC 699
[16]   (1995) 1 SCC 574
[17]   (2004) 11 SCC 26
[18]   452 U.S. 714 (1981)
[19]   1961 3 W.L.R. 611
[20]   AIR 1981 SC 344

[21]   AIR 1952 SC 196
[22]   (2003) 7 SCC 309
[23]   (1998) 8 SCC 227
[24]   (1995) 6 SCC 289

[25]   AIR 1951 SC 41
[26]   (1997) 2 SCC 453
[27]   (2008) 4 SCC 720
[28]   AIR 1962 SC 955
[29]   (2007) 2 SCC 1
[30]   (1962) 3 SCR 842
[31]   (2008) 3 SCC 1
[32]   (1995) 4 SCC 520
[33]   (1981) 2 SCC 600
[34]   (1960) 2 SCR 375
[35]   (1970) 1 SCC 248
[36]   (1978) 1 SCC 248
[37]   (2001) 7 SCC 630
[38]   (1983) 1 SCC 305
[39]   (1983) 1 SCC 147
[40]   (1989) 4 SCC 155
[41]   AIR 1955 SC 191

[42]   (1974) 1 SCC 19
[43]   (2005) 1 SCC 394
[44]   (1997) 8 SCC 114

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