Too good to be followed?

Too good to be followed?

To curb drunk driving in the City, Delhi Police has come up with new rules for night clubs, pubs and bars owners, making them more accountable. According to the rules, pubs and bar owners will be prosecuted if somebo­dy is found dri­ving under the influence of alcohol served in their premises.

The police recently held a meeting with pubs, bars and nightclubs owners informing them about the new regulati­on. It is now the owners’ responsib­i­lity to arrange transport for those who get sozzled and have to drive, else the owner will be pr­o­s­ecuted. In short, from now on, the onus lies as much on the pubs as on the drinkers.

Even as bars claim to abide by the rules and promise to make special arrangements, they feel it does not guarantee that drunk driving will be cu­r­bed, as the ultimate res­p­o­n­­s­i­b­i­­lity lies with the drinker.

Jaspreet Singh, manager, Shalom Bar in GK-I, asks how can pub and bar owners be held responsible if somebody is found driving in an inebriated condition. “How do we kn­ow where they are going after leaving the pub? People keep alcohol bottles in their cars al­so. If they drink after leaving the pub, then who will be prosecuted,” he asks Metrolife.

“We anyway provide cabs on finding somebody in a sozz­led condition. After the meeting with the Police Commissi­o­ner, we have trained our sta­ff further about the guidelines because nothing is more important than a life,” says Jaspreet.

Manager of Glassy Bar in South Extention-II, Ashok Sharma, has similar views. “We are doing our bit but how will police prove that the offe­n­der over-drank in the pub and not anywhere else.”

 The new initiative has not gone down well with regular pub goers also, with some calling it a ‘silly’ idea and an ‘abs­u­rd’ effort. They feel that cops are shirking responsibility.

Swapnil, a technology revi­e­w­er, says prosecuting pub and bar owners for somebody coming to their place, over-drinking and drivi­ng back is unreasonable. “Clubs and bars are very crowded on busy nights. It is difficult to make out who is drinking how much and who will be driving back if people are in a gro­up.”

Some also believe that putt­i­ng the onus on owners will make people more reckless. A professional, Sameer Mitha says, “It is a little silly to prosecute pub owners for their customers’ mistakes. Be responsible for yourself, why blame the pub owner? At the end of the day, they are not do­i­ng anything illegal. It appears that police is shifting its work.”

Normally on the right side of regulations, this rule has even left activists fuming. Ca­m­­p­a­ign Against Drunken Driving (CADD) founder Prince Singhal says Delhi Pol­ice is directionless on tackling the menace and th­is is just one example of th­at. “What about people sitting at home and drinking; people getting drunk at marriages and other functions; people drinking in office and driving back home? With liquor available at every nook and corner in the City, what is the logic behind prosecuting pub owners and under which section?” he asks.

“Why can’t police arrest repeat offenders rather than challaning to fill coffers?  This is nothing but hogwash. It will lead to corruption because pubs and bars are ultimately making money. They anyway pay the police,” adds Prince.

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