Bombay High Court Quashes FIR Against Businessmen in Dance Bar Case

Bombay HC quashes FIR against businessmen in dance bar case. Justices Prakash D Naik & NR Borkar ruled petitioners not involved in alleged offence.

The Bombay High Court has made a significant ruling, striking down a First Information Report (FIR) registered against three businessmen who were booked for allegedly showering money on bar girls during a police raid on a dance bar in Santacruz in March 2018.

Justices Prakash D Naik and NR Borkar of the division bench emphasized that the petitioners had no involvement in the dance performances or the establishment where the dance took place. They noted that no specific overt act was attributed to the businessmen, leading to the decision to strike down their prosecution.

The Santacruz police had registered the FIR on March 6, 2018, against 39 individuals found at Star Night Bar and Restaurant during the raid. Among those named in the FIR were 20 customers, including the three businessmen - two from Mumbai and one from Deolali in Nashik district.

The accused were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant statutes related to obscene dance performances and the Maharashtra Police Act.

The businessmen approached the High Court seeking the quashing of the criminal proceedings against them. Their advocate, Shreyas A Mehta, argued that their mere presence at the dance bar during the raid did not constitute aiding and abetting, as alleged by the prosecution.

The Additional Public Prosecutor, MM Deshmukh, contended that the businessmen's act of showering money on the dancers amounted to aiding and abetting the alleged obscenity.

However, the bench was not convinced by the prosecution's argument. They emphasized that the businessmen were not connected with the establishment and hence could not be held responsible for aiding or abetting the alleged obscene dance performance.

"The petitioners are not concerned with the dance performances or connected with the hotel where the dance was performed. No specific overt act is attributed to them," the bench remarked.

In their decision to strike down the criminal proceedings, the bench highlighted the absence of cogent evidence against the businessmen. They asserted that without concrete evidence, the businessmen could not be prosecuted for the alleged offences.