Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday heard a petition filed by two Surat-based businessmen, who were found during a police raid at a bar in Mumbai. Due to this, the court granted interim relief to both the businessmen by exempting them from appearing in the lower court. Advocates Matin Shaikh and Ansar Tamboli, appearing for both the businessmen, told the high court that they were drinking while sitting in the bar. On this, Justice PD Naik asked, 'Why did you go there? There are different types of bars."
Shaikh and Tamboli explained that they cannot be prosecuted under the Prevention of Obscene Dancing in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and under Protection of Dignity of Women (Working in them) 2016 as they are only customers and bar owners or workers are not. The advocates of the businessmen argued that the trial courts had ignored the fact that there was no allegation against the petitioners that they were not doing any obscene dance or any act in a public place which is an essential material of Section 294 of IPC. Section 294 states that whoever commits obscene acts in a public place, section 294 of the IPC is applicable against them.
Also, the petition states, "It is a matter of record that no one had come to file a case against the petitioners with the allegation that they were doing any obscene act which annoyed someone and thus lodged the complaint." On the other hand, Public Prosecutor Arfan Sait, appearing for Mumbai Police, said that the case dates back to 2016 when a fake customer had gone to the bar and saw 15 customers showering money on the artists. The men were arrested for obscene acts. On hearing this, Justice Naik asked, "Shouldn't action be taken against those who were doing obscene acts?" Sait said that the criminals were showering money while sitting in the bar. Sait said, "Raising money is an obscene act." The bench asked, "Were they raining money?" Sait insisted, "Yes." However, Sait sought some time to look into the chargesheet filed by the police against the criminals. Let us tell you that in 2016, Tardeo Police raided Drumbeat Bar in the Girgaum area of Mumbai. The bar owner, cashier, waiter, employees, 10 female dancers and customers were arrested and the police confiscated 40 Rs 20 notes.