City police chief sets 1.30 am deadline for eateries,pubs

Mumbai Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh has issued an order asking all eateries and commercial establishments to close shop by 1:30 am on the New Year eve.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: December 29, 2013 12:54:15 am

Mumbai Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh has issued an order asking all eateries and commercial establishments to close shop by 1:30 am on the New Year eve.

The police chief’s order is at odds with a recent state government order that allowed establishments serving liquor to remain open till 5 am on the New Year eve.

“Even though the state government has allowed eateries to remain open till 5 am,we have revoked it in the interest of the residents and to ensure law and order,” Singh said.

Last year,the police chief had opposed the state government’s plans to relax the 1.30 am deadline for hotels.

Police officers claimed that the existing rules allowed them to take a decision on the closure time for eateries and commercial establishments in their respective jurisdictions.

“The state government’s order is an enabling circular which speaks of a deadline that can be relaxed till 5 am. But it also leaves on the authorities concerned to take a view in their respective areas. So,it was left to police commissioners in cities and district magistrates in smaller regions. The commissioner’s office has opted to exercise the discretion and we have restricted the deadline to 1.30 am,” joint commissioner of police (law and order) Sadanand Date said.

He said while there was no restriction on the crowd on the streets,all commercial establishments would have to shut shop at 1.30 am while loudspeakers and music in open spaces would be prohibited after midnight.

The commissioner’s order has invited criticism from hoteliers.

“It happened last year too. If people want to party,they may as well do it on the road,which will put Mumbai in a bad light. They (police) should take the right to have fun on the New Year eve away from us,” Kabir Luthria,owner of Kino group and Copa in Juhu,said.

Hoteliers are also contemplating moving the court against the order.

“You can’t do this at the last minute. People will go on the streets if they can’t party indoors. Will you not need personnel to drive them away? We are already speaking to lawyers and writing to various departments concerned. We are exploring all possible options,” Association of Hotels and Restaurants member Anand Shetty said.

Hoteliers also found support in Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray,who criticised the police commissioner’s decision in a series of tweets.

“New Year’s eve is one night that people celebrate,hoping to start a better year. And the state govt wants to make it dull,” Thackeray tweeted.

The commissioners of Thane and Navi Mumbai said they would take a final decision once they saw the order. They,however,added that if Mumbai police stuck to 1.30 am deadline,they would not be left with much choice.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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