State-appointed, Justice CS Dharmadhikari Committee on 1 September 2014 asked Maharashtra Government to enforce a complete ban on dance bars in hotels and restaurants to curb attacks on women and reduce crime rate.
Besides, asking for the ban on dance bars, the Dharmadhikari Committee also gave its view on social media and Jat Panchayats (caste council) and their effect on woman.
The Main Recommendations of the Dharmadhikari Committee
• It asked the state government to frame a policy to check vulgarity on social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and other social media.
• Social media sites are responsible for harassing women and also develops violent tendencies among the youth as such there is increase in cases of crime against women.
• Further the Committee also said that these sites have been responsible for increase in divorce cases.
• It advised that at the time of registration of marriage, the bride must be asked to disclose on oath whether dowry was demanded and that all the laws for protection of women were followed.
• The committee also said that the bride must declare that whether all gifts and cash received by her were kept by her name by the family. These measures would go a long way in making the anti-dowry law more effective, the panel, which was set up in 2010.
• The committee also asked the state government to frame a policy to deal with Jat Panchayats (caste councils) that bars or punish the couples for inter-caste marriages.
• The committee also asked the state government to look after the children of unwed minor tribal girls and sex workers, who are deprived of education and do not go to schools as they have to disclose their father’s name. Thus they are kept away from the schools although Right to Education is their Constitutional right.
The committee recommended the steps in its fourth and fifth interim reports that were submitted to the Bombay High Court. The panel gave 22 recommendations in its fourth interim report and six suggestions in its fifth report.
The interim report was submitted on the PIL filed by Help Mumbai Foundation, seeking measures to ensure safety and security of women.
In 2005, dance performances in the bars in the Maharashtra were banned but performances in three-star and higher-standard hotels were exempted. This was challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds of discrimination in 2012. The Supreme Court had termed the ban as discriminatory.
In order to end the protracted legal battle over the issue, on 13 June 2014, the Maharashtra Assembly passed a Bill to extend the ban on dance performances at high-end hotels and a host of other public premises.
Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari committee
Justice (Retd.) Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari committee was constituted by the Maharashtra government in 2010 to suggest measures to curb atrocities against women. The committee comprises of senior women political leaders, social activists and bureaucrats.
When: on 1 September 2014