It also sought details on the licensing policy for establishments that have permits to serve alcohol.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has issued notices to the Maharashtra government and the Brih-anmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over a petition seeking regulatory action to curb instances of underage drinking in the state. The court also sought details from the state and the civic body on the licensing policy for restaurants, bars and cafes that have permits to serve alcohol.
A bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) claiming that, despite the state’s excise rules and the Juvenile Justice Act prohibiting restaurants and bars, among other establishments, from serving alcohol to those aged below 25 years — the legal drinking age for hard liquor in Maharashtra, many such places do not enforce strict checks on underage drinking.
The petitioner had submitted on the last hearing that restaurant and bar owners must be directed to install notice boards prohibiting their waiters and bar staff from serving alcohol to those below the legal drinking age. It had also urged the court to direct the authorities to issue stricter prohibitory and cautionary directions against underage drinking, similar to the graphic pictorial warning issued against tobacco consumption.
On December 20, the court observed that all restaurant and bar owners were already aware of the state and central laws against underage drinking and merely putting up new notices wasn’t going to be adequate to curb the problem. Therefore, the court also directed the petitioner, Doctors for You, a private association of doctors, to submit some practical suggestions to help the state authorities implement the law prohibiting minors from consuming or being served alcohol.
The court directed that the suggestions be submitted by the next date. The bench is likely to hear the matter in detail on January 17.