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Policy to allow pubs to operate 24 hrs not yet framed: Government

Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court that it hadn’t yet framed the policy allowing restaurants and pubs in the city to remain open 24 hours a day.

The statement was made by the government lawyer Maulina Thakur before the division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade which was hearing a public interest litigation on women’s safety.

The bench recorded the statement and adjourned the matter to June 16.

On March 6, the court had asked the government whether it had framed such a policy and if it had considered the impact on women’s safety while framing it.

The HC had earlier appointed Justice C S Dharmadhikari committee to suggest ways to curb crimes against women. The committee had, among other things, recommended a ban on dance bars which remain open till late at night.

In March, the bench had asked the government about media reports that it had proposed to allow restaurants and bars to remain open 24 hours and the police too had endorsed the idea.

The judges said they wanted to know the government’s policy and accordingly they would recommend the Dharmadhikari committee to look into its ramifications for women’s safety.

Mumbai has about 12,000 eateries and about 2,000 pubs and bars according to the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association.

The Dharmadhikari committee, while recommending complete ban on dance bars, had noted that there was a drop in cases of atrocities against women when the state had banned them in the past.

It had also recommended monitoring of vulgar content on the social media and websites.

The court is hearing a suo motu PIL based on newspaper reports and a petition filed by the NGO ‘Help Mumbai Foundation’.

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