1.30 am deadline: Hotels, bars move HC, hearing today

The owners of restaurants and bars in the city Monday filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the 1.30 am deadline for the New Year’s eve even as the police commissioner reiterated his stand that no relaxation would be allowed.

The petition, moved by The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s (AHAR), states that Maharashtra’s home and excise departments had, in circulars dated December 19 and December 24 respectively, granted permission to hotels and restaurants to remain open till 5 am, subject to police commissioner’s approval.

“The police commissioner has allowed five-star and three-star hotels to remain open till 3 am but denied permission to other restaurants and bars. This is a very elitist and discriminatory directive,” argued advocate Veena Thadani, who appeared for AHAR.

The petition also says states that every year, the state government permits all restaurants and bars to remain open till 5 am on the New Year eve and Christmas eve.

“It is pertinent to note that every year, despite restaurants and bars remaining open till 5 am, there has been no law and order problem or any major untoward incident,” it adds.

The petition will come up for hearing before the vacation court Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh Singh said the police would present its side in the court.

“There are so many reasons, like safety of women and drink driving, behind this decision. Our stand on the matter is firm and we will be presenting our side in court on Tuesday,” he said.

The police have cancelled all leaves for the next two days and have deployed personnel in thousands to ensure New Year celebrations go off without any law and order problems.

The Mumbai police’s anti-eve-teasing squads, which have been formed at police station level, will also be on the lookout for trouble-makers, the police said.


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