The home department has strongly opposed the proposed revival of night life in the city under which restaurants, bars and pubs are to be allowed to remain open till early morning. The state government, however, told the Bombay high court on Wednesday that it is yet to decide on whether to allow the plan to go ahead.
The proposal, which was moved by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and vetted by the Mumbai police commissioner has been turned down by the additional chief secretary (home) KP Bakshi. The proposal has now been sent to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for a final decision. According to Mantralaya officials, a strong stand taken by the home department also means the nightlife plan could be put on the backburner.
The department, which governs the police force, opined the night life will lead to the deterioration of law and order in the city and put unnecessary pressure on the police. The department also felt the proposal would cater only to a certain section of society.
“The additional burden on the police force, which is already under tremendous pressure, is not affordable and practicable. The thinning of population during the night time, is expected to give rise to boozing, molestation, eve teasing and result in giving shelter to anti-social elements,” the report stated. The department expressed apprehension that if permission is given, the situation will be similar to that in New Delhi.
“I have submitted the report, after due deliberation with officers in the department, to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who will take a final call on it,” Bakshi told HT.
Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria favoured the proposal and stated the police will implement the proposal if asked to.
The state’s counsel Molina Thakur, however, informed a division bench comprising justice Naresh Patil and justice VL Achliya that she received a letter from the state home department stating it is yet to decide on the issue. The state is likely to come up with a decision in about a month's time, before the next date of hearing, which is scheduled for June 16.
On March 13, the high court had restrained the government from implementing its proposed decision unless it satisfies the court that it has conducted an impact study on the safety of women.
The court is hearing two public interest litigations in the matter, including one that it took up on a suo moto basis after a woman was molested on a train between Nerul and Juinagar stations in June 2011.
The Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs from the city have, however, opposed the proposal. The party’s city unit chief Ashish Shelar, Colaba MLA Raj Purohit and Charkop MLA Yogesh Sagar spoke against the proposal in the Assembly during the budget session. “I am opposed to the night life plan because no one from my constituency, including residents, want it to be implemented,” Purohit said.