Mumbai, Dec 31(PTI): The Bombay High Court has allowed eateries, hotels and restaurants in here to stay open till 5am on January 1 for New Year revelries, throwing out as “illogical” a police directive that had set a shutdown time of 1.30am.
Justice Gautam Patel was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Hotels & Restaurant Association (AHAR) challenging the police directive setting 1.30am as the cut-off citing concerns of law and order, security and women safety.
The police had allowed five-star hotels, restaurants and pubs to stay open till 3am, attracting charges of elitism from AHAR.
Public prosecutor D A Nalavade pointed out to the court recent reports regarding Indian Mujahideen terrorist Yasin Bhatkal's statement on the terror outfit planning nuclear bomb attacks in the country.
The prosecutor also informed the court about seven alleged terrorists absconding from a jail in Madhya Pradesh, while arguing in support of the deadline.
The court, however, dismissed these reasons and said, ”Threat perception to the city will be there all the time. Not just on December 31.”
The court also refused to accept the women safety concern and said, “The Shakti Mills gang-rape incident did not happen on December 31. It happened in a normal day. If proper precautions are taken, such incidents would not occur.”
Petitioner's counsel Veena Thadani pointed out that the state home department in its circular dated December 19 had permitted hotels to continue the party till 5am.
“If the home department under which the police comes has no problem with the celebrations going on till 5am, then why is the police setting deadline of 1.30am? This is without logic,” Justice Patel said.
The court, while extending the deadline to 5am, said the hotels would have to give an undertaking that security inside the premises would be their responsibility.
The court has also allowed hotels to have indoor music on till 5am.
AHAR in its petition had also said that the 1.30am deadline was not imposed on five star hotels and pubs.
“They are allowed to remain open till 3am. Why this discrimination? This is a very elitist outlook. Are only the rich allowed to party and celebrate ?” Thadani questioned.