In a move that will not go down well with New Year revellers, the Delhi Police have refused discotheque and pub-owners' requests to extend party hours beyond the stipulated hours for a few days in the year-end.
The pubs have been asked to stop music by 12:30 am and serving of food by 1 am. Party hoppers and pub-owners are, obviously, not happy. They feel the police should be lenient at least for a few days.
“Delhi Police and other agencies should allow people to party till late night for some specific days. There is a need to change the pub timings as the lifestyle of people has undergone a sea change and people now want to enjoy till late in the night,” Sunil Chhatwal, director of Haze, a pub in Rajouri Garden said.
The police commissioner has directed the district DCPs to ensure that the guidelines are followed by all pubs.
“We have decided to conduct special checks at restaurants and pubs across the city. Those found violating the law will face stern action,” a senior police officer said.
The order issued by the commissioner reads: “Pubs and discotheques, whether standalone or in star hotels, are required to switch off their music latest by 12:30 am and stop serving food latest by 1 am as per the licensing conditions".
Sources said that the order was issued after complaints were received that pubs were violating the rules and remained open till the early hours of the morning.
“Drunken brawls are frequently taking place and in some cases, foreigners are found involved too," the officer added.
In May, eight students were detained from a south Delhi pub following a brawl between two groups. Some of the detained youths were foreigners.
The pub association had recently approached the lieutenant governor to increase their closing time. The request was rejected after the police said it would not be feasible for them to provide security after 12:30 am.
“We understand the safety concerns are of huge importance and we respect that. At the same time, the live performance sector is at its peak and considering we get artists from all over the world, we should at least give them adequate time. People want to unwind themselves and this is their way of enjoying,” Rajesh Ahuja, of Blue Frog in Mehrauli said.