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A daily drinking permit? No way, say Delhiites

No way, say Delhiites as Mumbai cops plan to enforce law requiring drinking licences for individuals.

entertainment Updated: May 25, 2012 00:38 IST
Aakriti Sawhney

Following the rave party crackdown in Mumbai earlier this week, the Mumbai police have decided to effectively enforce an existing 1949 law under which each individual needs to own a permit for consumption of liquor.

The licences are available in different denominations — Rs 2 for a day or Rs 1,000 for a lifetime — and anyone caught flouting the law will have to cough up R50,000 and/or spend five years in jail. Delhi’s reaction — ha ha.

“It’s an absolutely ridiculous idea. A permit won’t stop people from getting involved in bad stuff. What needs to be done is to create awareness about sensible drinking. Such obscure, archaic laws won’t work,” says Abhinav Kumar, 26, an engineer.

Akshit Wadhwa, 28, a sales head with a private firm, says, “So many people party on weekends in different pubs and clubs across Delhi ... who will keep a check on who has the permit and who hasn’t?”

Poonam Saxena, 25, agrees. “It’s a bad law. It’s like going back to the Old Raj, where individual freedom is curbed. Also, most booze parties are planned at the last moment — where do we go looking for licences at 9 in the night?”

Delhi has no drinking permit for individuals yet. Only those who serve or sell liquor either privately or publicly, need to own a permit. A senior official from the Delhi Excise Department says, “There is no such existing law (for individuals) in Delhi as such, and we have no plans to implement it. We do have a prescribed permit for those who serve or sell liquor, but nothing for individuals who consume it.”

However, not everyone is against the individual permit. Richa Sachdeva, 27, says, “It would be a good idea to have a rule like this in Delhi. It will create awareness, ensure that underage kids don’t drink, make drinkers responsible.”

Delhi police say it is too early to comment. “If a law like this is formed (in Delhi), it will be our duty to implement it, but we can’t comment on it right now,” says Rajan Bhagat, PRO, Delhi police.

The Mumbai law says...
Under the Bombay Prohibition Act, introduced but not enforced in 1949, every individual in Mumbai needs a government permit — Rs 2 for a daily licence and Rs 1,000 for a lifetime permit — to consume alcohol. Once an individual acquires this permit, he or she can possess and transport 12 units of liquor. Violation would lead to a fine of Rs 50,000 or five years of imprisonment or both.

More on the web
For more on the Mumbai drinking law, log on to www.hindustantimes.com/mumbaidrinking