Need changes to three laws to get vibrant Mumbai nightlife plan out of haze

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 19, 2015 14:53 IST

If senior bureaucrats are to be believed, implementing the 24x7 nightlife plan — which has been greenlighted by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mumbai police chief Rakesh Maria — may not be easy. At least three laws will have to be amended to make the plan a reality in Mumbai.

The idea is to allow pubs, discos, malls and bars in non-residential areas to function all through the night, with a deadline of 1.30am for the joints in residential areas. To do so, the government will have to amend the Mumbai Police Act, Excise Act and the Shops and Establishments Act, claim sources. While the police act sets a 1.30am deadline for running pubs and restaurants, the excise act bans serving of alcohol beyond 11pm. The Shop and Establishments Act allows women to work at these joints only till 10pm, and men till 11pm.

To modify these Acts, the state government will have to move separate bills in the state legislature. Till Wednesday, there was no clarity on whether the bills will be put up in the budget session of the legislature that starts on March 9, or later.

“The government is aiming for consensus from all parties, before making changes to the laws. It is a complicated issue with several aspects. We need to have a thorough plan in place. We can’t just push through a proposal,” said a senior bureaucrat, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The city’s hospitality, although happy, feels the proposal has several loopholes. “Amendments to the laws are yet to be made. We are positive and hope the resolution will be passed soon,” said Bharat Malkani, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association, western India.

“I think we need to hold on and wait till we have some more clarity,” said Apurva Padgaonkar, partner, Tight Pub in Inorbit Mall, Vashi. HT spoke to four mall owners, but all of them declined to comment.

At a meeting with hotel owners and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shaina NC, on Tuesday said, “Having a 24x7 nightlife will boost the city’s image. It will also create job opportunities.”

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