With incidents of rapes and underage drinking being reported from in and around malls on MG Road in Gurgaon,newly appointed Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi and Gurgaon Police Commissioner Alok Mittal met on Tuesday and decided to tighten the noose around pub owners to curb unlawful incidents.
A team of officers in the administration and police will conduct thorough checking of all pubs,bars and lounge in Gurgaon to ensure that neither hookah nor liquor is made available to the youth , Mittal said. Pub and bar owners must install CCTV cameras in their premises so that it can be ascertained that they were not selling liquor to youth under 25 years of age. Food courts and restaurants will also be issued these notices, he added.
Section 29 of Punjab Excise Act 1914 prohibits sale of liquor to persons under the age of 25 years and Section 62 of the Act provides penal provisions for violations.
DC Shekhar Vidyarthi said: No pub or bar will remain open after midnight and instructions to this have been issued to the concerned owners. Surprise checks in pubs and bars by an inspection team of senior police officers will also be carried out from now on. Orders under Section 144 of CrPC for the same and the violators can be booked under Section 188 of IPC besides imposing of fines. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning running of hookah bars in Gurgaon were already in force.
This decision has sparked off a debate in Gurgaon again on setting a minimum age for consuming alcohol. While some residents say its a good move,others think the initiative will gradually fizzle out.
Pragya Kothari,a Development Economist said signages have always been put up in all pubs and bars,clearly stating that liquor will not be served to those under the age of 25 years but these norms have been flouted regularly.
For five years you dont keep a check on underage drinking and suddenly the administration issues a notice reminding everyone that this is illegal and now penalties will be imposed on those who flout the norms. Also,questions have been raised on the age of drinking? This issue is debatable, Kothari said.