The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Tuesday made it mandatory for all hotels and restaurants located under its jurisdiction to let the general public use their toilets. The recommendation to explore the possibility was made to the SDMC by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. The restaurant management has been given the discretion to charge up to Rs 5 per person to cover the charges towards maintenance and cleaning.
Prominent places under the SDMC’s jurisdiction include Hauz Khas Village, Saket and Shahpur Jat. SDMC claims this will make an additional 3,500 toilets accessible to the public. The decision will come into effect from April 1, and the modalities are being worked out. The move was discussed in a meeting between the L-G and SDMC officials last week, following which the decision was taken.
Riyaaz Amlani, CEO of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd and president of the National Restaurant Association of India, raised concerns over what he called violation of a restaurant’s right of admission and security. Speaking to The Indian Express, Amlani said, “As long as the order does not violate the restaurant’s right of admission and does not pose a security threat, it can be implemented. However, these things should be kept in mind.”
As of now, most restaurants only allow customers to use their toilets. Rahul Dua who runs Rustom’s in South Delhi said that while the restaurant reserves the right to admission for its guests, they “generally don’t refuse” anyone the right to use the toilet because of a sense of hospitality. “It’s a sensitive issue and we don’t refuse people the use of our restrooms, but we draw the line at misbehaviour,” Dua said.
The order will be mandatory for all restaurants under the SDMC’s jurisdiction and for those who seek health trade licences from the corporation. “The move will be advertised through all media before it is implemented on April 1,” a senior civic official said.