The Delhi Police Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it was not in favour of places like bars and restaurants serving liquor here being permitted to remain operational till 3 am.
Delhi Police counsel submitted before Justice Yashwant Varma, that the agency was “saying no” to the extension of timings of operations beyond 1 am.
The high court had earlier asked the Delhi Police and Excise Department to constitute a consultative group to examine the issue.
Meetings of officials concerned were held and Delhi Police is not in favour of the extension, said the agency counsel Harish V Shankar.
The court was hearing a petition by the National Restaurant Association of India seeking directions to restrain Delhi Police from interfering with the operation and running of restaurants and bars till 3 am in terms of the excise policy.
The court had earlier observed that while it does not intend to stand in the way of the excise department framing a policy to permit the opening of bars till 3 am, the same has to be “harmonised with” the police’s authority to regulate the operational timing of eating houses and places of public entertainment.
In its report filed in the case, the police stated that in the meetings of the joint consultative group, its officials objected to bars being permitted to operate beyond 1 am on several grounds, including that the demography of Delhi has a “unique character”, there are several offices and residence of importance and the city has “reflected ugly and irresponsible behaviour of people under influence of alcohol late in the night”.
The report informed that women’s safety was a big concern and given the acute shortage of manpower in the Delhi Police, the operation timings of bars in restaurants and clubs should not be increased.
The report stated that it was suggested by the police officials that since the decision regarding increasing time for bars and restaurants was taken by the Delhi government, the views of the agency may be sent for re-consideration of timings by the competent authority.
The court asked that the status report filed by the authorities be brought on record and listed the case for further hearing on November 23.
The report further informed that in the meetings, the Delhi government official said that the decision to fix the timing of the operation of bars was a policy matter and a conscious decision was taken after wider consultation.
The Excise Department official, it asserted, said that nightlife in Delhi was important to give a world-class experience to the visitors and that there are over 150 bars located either on arrival or departure of the international airport which are already running round-the-clock and hence taking a liberal approach, the consultative committee may explore the possibilities of increasing the timings in a staggered/phased manner in certain areas.
Standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi with lawyer Arun Panwar appear for the Delhi government in the case.
After detailed deliberations, it was decided in the meetings that the views of the consultative committee may be submitted before the high court and the Delhi government for appropriate decision, the report stated.
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