On Thursday, the High Court of Orissa permitted to employ women for musical orchestra at bars and other restaurants that serve liquor. But the court imposed a condition that the owners of the bars and restaurant should comply with the Bihar and Orissa Excise Act of 1915 and also the Court guidelines 2013. According to the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, the performers are barred from wearing dress that expose body and has also imposed restriction on the performers from wearing provocative clothes. The Court has also said that the performing stage should be nearly three feet high and the distance between the customers and the stage should be five feet. The Court was considering a writ petition initiated by Prasanna Kumar Panda who was the owner of a restaurant.
The bench consisted of Justice Indrajit Mahanti and DP Choudhury who directed that to conduct musical orchestra, the owners of bar and restaurant have to get sanction from State Excise Board. Recently Bhubaneswar police and excise officers have conducted raid in bars and had registered cases for organizing musical orchestra in such bars without taking permission. The owners have also violated the guidelines and policies to be followed in this regard. Hence the High Court had issued notice to the owners stating that they had violated Section 25 of the Bihar and Orissa Excise Act. Against this, five petitioners have filed cases in the High Court.
The Court therefore ruled that it is not wrong in conducting musical orchestra in bars and restaurant, but the owners have to comply with the guidelines and the provisions of the 1915 Act. The Court also directed the petitioners to file application along with the details of women who are engaged in orchestra before the board within seven days. The High Court further ordered that CCTV camera shall be installed in the bars to prevent obscene issues when the women are performing.
Adv. Jewel Panicker