With the drinking permit law being enforced with full vigour after the Sunday evening raid at Azok in Juhu, there has been an outcry on the Internet.
Celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar posted, “Now Mumbai cops will use a 63 yr old rule to book adults for 6 months in jail 4 ‘drinking without a permit’? No other ‘bad’ guys out there? Its time we got rid of this absurdly antiquated rule that needs adults to carry a ‘permit’ to have an alcoholic drink. #fail (sic).” Producer Pritish Nandy responded to him saying, “We are becoming a fascist society. Must protest, every one of us. Its not about drinking, smoking, drugs. Its about freedom (sic).”
Balaji Motion Pictures CEO, Tanuj Garg also agreed, “#justread that we're expected to carry individual liquor permits to a bar! Sickening! (sic).”
As part of the Bombay Prohibition Act 1949, anyone found consuming alcohol without a valid permit can be heavily fined or sentenced to a jail term of up to six months.
While some bars and restaurants in the city, such as Goa Portugesa, LIV, Toto’s Garage Pub, WTF! and Hawaiian Shack already hand out one-day drinking permits to all their customers, others will now have to follow suit.
“All these things are just an eye wash. They want to collect more revenue because people have reduced going out to drink. This will happen for a few months or a year, and then everyone will forget,” says Suhas Awchat, owner of Goa Portugesa, Mahim.
Laju Bhatia of Toto’s, a pub in Bandra, adds, “The excise department had instructed everyone to give drinking permits. We started over a year ago. We usually ask customers if they have one, if they don’t we give them one for Rs 5.”