The state government on Monday informed the Bombay high court that they are planning to review permission granted to bars and restaurants under the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, allowing them to remain open till 3am.
However, even under the provisions of the said Act, bars can serve only food till 3am and liquor only till 1.30am.
The state’s response has come following a petition filed by Shaheen Rafique Khan, owner of a restaurant and bar in suburban Andheri, alleging that the police were disrupting their business by not allowing them to keep the restaurant open till 3am, as stipulated under the Act.
A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice Rajesh Ketkar said that the bar can remain open till 3am, but can’t serve liquor after 1.30am. “You can keep it open but without entertaining the public,” the court said.
Petitioner’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi contended that they should be allowed to continue their business as per the governing rules and conditions laid down under the various licences procured by the bar.
Assistant government pleader Smita Gaidhani informed that the state may review the conditions under the Act that allows relaxation of deadline.
The state home department had filed an affidavit stating that because Mumbai is an international destination and flights bringing in such tourists arrive late, only discotheques in four and five star hotels can remain open till 3am, not regular bars.
Even though the high court had observed earlier that the state cannot “discriminate” between ordinary hotels and bars and five star hotels by allowing the latter to remain open till 3am, the state was directed to furnish their policy, if any, to justify their action in this regard.
“Mumbai being an international city, people from various countries arrive in Mumbai at late hours… it has been decided to continue with the earlier policy of 1997 to keep closing time till 3am,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit added that the industries, energy and labour department will review cases where permission has been granted to restaurants and bars to operate beyond 1.30am.