Offering liquor to underage friends at bar? Get ready for a counselling session
Delhi’s excise department officials will conduct surprise checks at resto-bars and will counsel anyone found offering drinks to underage friends or relatives.delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2017 09:51 IST
The next time you offer an underage friend or relative a drink at a restro-bar, be prepared to face a pep talk from excise department officials.
The Delhi government’s excise department has decided to counsel and take written undertakings from customers in pubs and restro-bars who are caught sharing or ordering liquor for friends/relatives under 25 years in age.
Sources in the department said teams would conduct surprise checks at restro-bars across the city. “People often come in to lounge bars, order drinks and pass it on to their underage friends or relatives. We have decided to go have a chat with anyone doing so and ask them to give a written undertaking that they won’t offer liquor to an underage person again,” an official said.
At present, the Delhi’s excise law lays down strict action against a liquor licensee (restaurant/bar owner/seller) for supplying alcohol to underage people. But, it does not prescribe any action for a third party or a person caught violating the rule.
If a licensee is caught serving liquor to underage people, police and excise department can either fine them or register an FIR. The excise department can also suspend or cancel the licence of the establishment.
“The undertaking will just be a gentle way of spreading awareness about Delhi’s legal age of drinking. Nobody would like to spoil their evening by running into police and excise inspectors at bars. This will also act as a deterrent,” the official added.
Action against restro-bars
The department has deputed five teams from the enforcement wing and 60 personnel from the excise intelligence bureau (EIB) in the drive against underage drinking.
In recent raids at restrobars, pubs and lounges, FIRs were lodged against seven outlets in areas such as Punjabi Bagh, Pitampura and Rajouri Garden for serving liquor to underage people.
“Among the seven cases, we suspended licences of five outlets,” said Praveen Mishra, deputy commissioner (excise).
Excise officials have asked bars to provide CCTV footage. “We ask for CCTV recordings from bars based on tip-offs given to us by the EIB and other sources. If we find liquor being offered to any visibly underage person, action will be taken against the restaurant owner,” Mishra added.
The officials, however, said catching underage drinking offenders is a tricky task. “We go by appearance and also by ID proof, which are often deceptive. Restaurant owners say that if they have to ask every person for their IDs, it would drive away customers,” an official said..