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Women’s security first, Night life later

The High Court had asked the state government to ensure women’s security before implementing the night life plan.

Women-SeftyEven though the Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had given a nod for allowing pubs and restaurants to function throughout the night in commercial areas the Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to not implement the policy until it considers the impact of such move on women’s safety. Ever since the Shiv Sena and BJP had mooted the plan for making the city’s night life more vibrant citizens and activists have been raising objections against it by saying that the move may create law and order problems, drink driving and traffic issues. Some of them feel that the rule might even be extended to residential areas in the future. On the other hand, the state government had said that night life plan will boost tourism in the city.

“The Dharamadhikari Committee has done an extensive exercise related to women’s safety. If the government refers the issue to the committee, they can look into important aspects on the impact of this decision and possible steps to be taken to ensure safety of women,” said Justices A S Oka and A K Gadkari.

The judges had earlier noted that the term of the Dharmadhikari Committee on women’s safety had expired but they would have to ask it to look into the matter.

Citizens said the government must hold consultations with them before going ahead with the implementation of night life plan.

Ashwin Singh, a Malad resident said, “Most of the pubs, restaurants and bars are located in residential areas. If these establishments remain open for the entire night then it will only create disturbance in the vicinity.”

Ramesh Sachdev, a Borivali resident said, “The government will have to beef up the security in the areas where it will implement the night life plan. Already the police force is facing man power crunch so how are they going to deploy additional personnel to increase security in these areas?”

Social activist Anil Joseph said, “We have been at loggerheads with the BMC regarding the presence of bars and pubs in residential areas since 2008. There are numerous pubs located in the Bandra-Khar locality and as per rules they are supposed to shut down by 1.30. However, despite such deadlines, chaos near residential areas continues to prevail. We are not against Mumbai having a vibrant nightlife, but it should not inconvenience residents.”

The HC had asked the government to file an affidavit in this regard within three weeks. Earlier, the court had said that allowing nightlife in the city may lead to situations where women’s safety is a concern. “In a city like Mumbai, a situation will arise,” the court has said.

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