A day after police and excise department teams raided a pub at a mall on MG Road and found more than 80 students of prominent schools in the city had registered for a party and many were consuming alcoholic drinks, it has now been made mandatory for all pub and bar owners to display notice boards stating 'Sales and consumption of liquor is prohibited here for people under the age of 25'.
Excise department officials, however, clarified that the excise act does not have provisions to prohibit youths under 25 years from entering pubs and bars, partying or having food there.
SB Sharma, deputy excise and taxation commissioner, said his department has made it mandatory for all bars, pubs and discothèques where liquor is served to prominently display the notice prohibiting underage drinking.
"All eateries and restaurants which have licences for serving liquor would have to follow the guidelines. However, it is not mandatory under the excise act. From now, I will ensure that this requirement of a notice is categorically mentioned in liquor licences issued in the future," Sharma said.
The commissioner added youths below the age of 25 were allowed to enter, dine and dance in all outlets that had bar licences.
"The excise act does not prohibit anybody from entering bars, which are essentially restaurants. But bar authorities have a right to refuse alcoholic beverages to people below 25 years. Unfortunately, majority of the pubs keep serving liquor to underage children. We are short of staff and therefore it is difficult to keep an eye on all outlets."
Of a total of 160 bar licences issued in Gurgaon, only a handful have taken the initiative to display the notice prohibiting underage drinking on their premises on their own.
Gurjeet Singh, who runs a restro-bar and discotheque called Addiction in MGF Metropolitan Mall on MG Road, said he had hung a board at the entry of his premises clearly saying liquor would not be served to anyone below the age of 25.
"It is very difficult to enforce the rule as bar owners lack the authority to ask youngsters to produce age proofs. In many cases, youths consume alcohol from local liquor vends before coming to the disco," Singh added.