The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday asked Mumbai dance bar owners to give an undertaking that they would not engage employees with criminal antecedents near the dance area and directed the Maharashtra government to grant licences to eight dance bars within two days.Asking bar operators to furnish the undertaking by Wednesday, the court said “….The undertakings shall be issued by tomorrow and the licences shall be issued by day after tomorrow,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Maharashtra government had filed an affidavit in the court informing the bench that they had not granted licences to eight dance bars as they found some of their employees with criminal antecedents.Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, contended that not a single licence has been issued till date despite the court’s repeated directions.He submitted that as the FIR has been lodged against some employees, licences were not being issued to them on the ground that they have criminal antecedents.”Unless a person is convicted under the offence, he cannot be termed as a criminal. The licences are being delayed on one pretext on the other,” he argued.”On the issue of increasing the height of the railing adjacent to the dance stage, such deficiencies have been addressed by bar owners,” senior advocate said.On April 12, the Maharashtra Assembly had unanimously passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill, which has provisions for stringent action against violators.The new Bill fixes accountability on the owner in case of violation of rules, exploitation of women employees, or obscenity. Owners or operators face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 25,000 for violations. Separate rules are being formulated on this, based on the provisions of the Bill.According to the new conditions, dance bars must be at least a kilometre from education or religious institutions, their timings should be restricted between 6pm and 11.30pm, and liquor should not be served in the performance area. The Bill also bans running bars in residential buildings and permits them in semi-residential ones only if the three-fourths residents consent. The Bill also has a provision to repeal amendments to Section 33 (A) of the Maharashtra Police Act that were earlier struck down by the SC.