Police should not sit around in bars unnecessarily: HC

The observation was made by the division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Amjad Sayed while hearing four petitions filed by bar and restaurant owners, challenging a government order restricting the number of artists performing in an establishment to eight - four male and four female.

Petitioners also allege that policemen sit in the bars for hours and harass the owners, compelling them to close by 9.30 pm, even though the permissible limit is 1.30 am.

"Unnecessarily police should not be sitting in bars and harassing people. No police officer should go and enjoy such things. If there is some enquiry going on then it is fine. Maybe then police can go in civil clothes so as to be unnoticeable," Justice Majmudar said.

Refuting the petitioners' allegations, additional government pleader Nitin Deshpande said police officers go to bars to keep a check on 'nefarious activities'. He said he would however ask senior police officials to look into the allegations.

The state government today submitted draft rules for female artists performing in bars and restaurants. Accordingly, the artists should not wear "skimpy, revealing and tight" dresses, should not mingle with customers, and the customers must not shower currency notes on them.

"What do you (state) mean by tight clothes? Who decides what is appropriate and not? Whether these restrictions would stand the (test of) constitutional validity needs to be seen before finalising them," Justice Majmudar said.

The bench today directed the government to get suggestions and objections from public at large before finalising the rules.

Expressing concern about the safety of the female artists who work till 1.30 am, the court said, "The state should also see if the bar and restaurant owners should be directed to make arrangements to have these lady employees dropped back home safely."

The matter will be heard next on May 3.


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