‘Public interest’ is a broad term, but this has to be among its most liberal interpretations.
Having faced “repeated embarrassment after being unceremoniously asked to stop consumption of liquor at 1 am”, two men on Wednesday filed a public-interest petition in the Delhi High Court.
Jagdish Lal (75), a retired public-sector employee, and his 65 year-old friend Shirish Gupte wanted the court to allow restaurants and bars in the city to serve liquor 24x7.
Lal and Gupte are both residents of Sadhna Enclave in Saket, south Delhi.
The men said they were being “deprived of their right to have liquor whenever we want” due to the implementation of the Delhi Police Act under which liquor can be served only till 1 am, while excise rules permit a 24-hour service.
They wanted the court to direct the government to remove this “anomaly”.
“Due to globalisation and the increasing influence of western culture in Delhi, people are yearning for an extended nightlife and have started going to pubs at night to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work,” Lal and Gupte said in their petition.
The petition was summarily dismissed.
“It’s shocking that such kind of petitions are being filed in the name of public interest…,” Chief Justice AP Shah told the petitioners’ lawyer. “See the demand: ‘Allow us to have more liquor.’ You want to drink throughout the night. You want a better nightlife. Sorry, we refuse to entertain such PILs.”
Lal and Gupte were also fined Rs 10,000 each.