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Sunburn: HC asks Maha to list steps to ensure underage won’t consume alcohol

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit listing the steps it proposes to take to ensure that those underage do not consume alcohol at the upcoming ‘Sunburn music festival’ in Pune.

A bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Rajesh Ketkar also directed the government to take an undertaking from the organisers of the festival stating that they will pay all pending entertainment and related taxes from last year’s festival as well as the dues for this year’s event.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Ratan Luth, a resident of Pune seeking that the organisers of the event were not granted a liquor license.

According to his plea, the Festival was scheduled to take place from December 28 this year to January 1 next year, and around three lakh people expected to attend it.

Several of those who attend the festival will be minors, school students etc. and thus, the organisers must not serve liquor to ensure that no under-age drinking takes place, the petitioner sought.

The petitioner also cited several news reports claiming that in 2013, when the festival was organised at Goa, several instances of under-age drinking and consumption of illegal drugs was reported.

However, Percept India, the organisers of the event told the court that the event had music that “appealed to 15- year-olds too.”

The organisers also said that they had already sold several tickets, and booked international artistes for the event, and that they will ensure no laws are broken.

The state’s counsel Abhinandan Vagyani meanwhile told the court that the organisers had agreed to have a segregated and colour coded entry based on age groups.

“Those below 20 years will be given green bands, those above 21 but under 25 will have yellow bands, and those guests who are above 25 will have red bands to identify them,” Vagyani said.

“Also, the liquor counter will be at a distance from the stage and the main ground so that our police officials deployed at the spot can keep a check,” he said.

Vagyani also said police will be deployed at the entry and exit points. “Our police will ensure that what happened in Goa does not happen here,”Vagyani said.

While the bench directed Vagyani to put all his submissions in the affidavit, it also said the police must ensure that there was enough staff to maintain daily and law and order in the city as well.

“The timing of the event is such that you’ll have to not just keep a watch on the event, but also across the city. Ensure that your entire staffs do not happily go to the event,” it said.

The state has been directed to file the affidavit by December 20.

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