A DAY after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) announced its decision to give public access to toilets in all the restaurants under its jurisdiction, restauranteurs in the area alleged that the decision was a violation of their right to admission. Raising concerns pertaining to security as well, members of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) are now planning to meet SDMC officials to discuss the matter.
Stating that the decision was “not well-thought out”, Megha Kohli, who runs Lavaash by Saby in Mehrauli, told The Indian Express, “Our washrooms are made for people who dine at our restaurant. We will lose our rights to admission.”
Pointing to the likelihood of a safety-related issue, Kohli said, “They (SDMC) said we can charge up to Rs 5 from anyone who uses the washroom. But whether you charge Rs 5 or Rs 100, the move will increase security concerns. If a group of drunk men come to the restaurant to use the restroom, we need to make arrangements to attend to them.”
Following recommendations made by the L-G, SDMC had announced the decision Tuesday. Voicing similar concerns, Thomas Fenn, co-founder of Mahabelly restaurant in Saket, said, “It is a bad decision because any hospitality scenario involves the rights to admission, which should be at the restaurants’ discretion. By reserving the right to admission, an ambiance of sorts is created. If a decision to allow anyone who is willing to pay Rs 5 to use the restrooms is implemented, it is a violation of these rights. The restaurants have the responsibility to uphold these rights on behalf of its patrons.”
Fenn further said that while the principle behind the decision was good, “the use of private establishments for public welfare was problematic”. Both Kohli and Fenn maintained that the SDMC has not consulted them. “We came to know about it from the news reports. No one approached us on the issue,” Kohli said.