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On New Year’s Eve: Music only till 1.30 am

It’s official. On New Year’s Eve, restaurants will be allowed to serve food and drinks till 5am. However, music (orchestras) will be allowed only till 1.30am.

mumbai Updated: Dec 31, 2011 02:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

It’s official. On New Year’s Eve, restaurants will be allowed to serve food and drinks till 5am. However, music (orchestras) will be allowed only till 1.30am.

On Friday, a vacation bench of the Bombay High Court comprising M L Tahilyani and Girish Godbole refused permission to AHAR (Indian Hotel And Restaurant Association) to extend music (orchestra) till 5am on January 1.

AHAR had moved the court requesting that orchestras be allowed to play till 5am. It brought to the notice of the court a state excise department circular which allowed serving of drinks and food till 5am but permitted orchestras to be played only till 1.30am.

The counsel for AHAR requested that orchestras be allowed to play till 5am, pointing out that such permission had been granted last year.

The high court said at this point that it was for the state government to decide on the timings for hotels and restaurants, and that it did not want to interfere.
AHAR then said the Chembur police had granted permission to Sant Punjab hotel to serve drinks and food, and also allow the orchestra till 5am.

The government pleader replied that the order had been wrongly interpreted by the police, and that they would cancel the permission for orchestra till 5am.

AHAR then produced an invitation of a hotel which had offered unlimited drinks to the invitees at the New Year celebrations on December 31. It said: "Unlimited drinks means unlimited hours of time". However, Justice Tahaliyani observed in a lighter vein: "It means unlimited drinks within limited time".

You’ll be arrested for partying on premises with no liquor permit

If you are planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a party, please check whether the hosts have a liquor permit. The state excise department has warned that anyone, even those not drinking, partying on premises that do not have a permit would be booked.

“The onus is on people to check. And, this is a non-bailable offence,” said Mohan Varde, superintendent of state excise. He said temporary liquor permits are being offered and anyone organising a function without them is liable for prosecution.

Currently, the excise department is focusing on two issues – to ensure liquor permits to the premises and to crack down on spurious liquor in the market.

The excise department has deployed a staff of 225 personnel on the job. He said more than 60 people were arrested last year for this reason.

In addition, the excise department has also issued 6.5 lakh liquor permits to permit rooms and wine shops to distribute to consumers.

Partygoers are not happy with the move. “How can we know whether the organisers have a permit?” said Raam, a professional actor.

First Published: Dec 31, 2011 01:58 IST