Police cites 1999 BMW case, 2012 gangrape to oppose Delhi government’s liquor policy

The BMW 1999 hit-and-run case, the 1999 Jessica Lal murder and the 2012 Nirbhaya Jangrib murder case are among the “sensational cases” listed by the Delhi Police, before a commission was set up on the orders of the Delhi High Court, while opposing the AAP government’s decision to allow bars Clubs are open until 3 am.

The police also told the Joint Advisory Committee (JCC), which was set up to settle disputes between the Excise Service and the police, that the national capital “reflected ugly and irresponsible behavior” of people under the influence late at night.

Apart from listing cases two decades ago, the police have provided data regarding crimes and road accidents that occurred between midnight and five in the morning for the past six years to support their argument. The JCC report was presented before Judge Yashwant Varma at the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. Since the report was not recorded in court, the case was brought to the November 23 hearing.

At the meetings of the Joint Coordination Committee held in June and July, police said the cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) could not compare to the demographic of Delhi, which has offices and residences for VVIPS, diplomats and foreign delegates. Police said the women’s safety was a “major concern” late at night. There is also an acute shortage of manpower in the department, they said.

The excise department presented to the committee that the city’s nightlife is important to give a world-class experience to visitors, especially tourists. But the police, through their joint CP (License), Dr O.P. Mishra, said the importance of law and order, availability of public transport, and proper traffic police presence during late hours of work must be taken into account.

“Before contemplating increasing the timing of bars in restaurants, one needs to change the mindset of the people; inform and educate people early on along with the issue of resources like availability of public transportation, etc.,” said Mino Choudhury, Joint CP, Southern Range, who was a participant in one of the meetings, before the committee. Special Secretary for Delhi (Home) Ajay Kumar Gupta told the JCC that given the assessment and limitations of the Delhi Police, a selective and gradual approach to extending the time could be considered.

“Approximately 170 bars/restaurants are operating 24 hours a day in Delhi which have been duly approved by the Department of Excise and Licensing Department of Delhi Police. Likewise, permission may be granted for time extensions in approved Phase 1 developed commercial areas which can be extended Later to other regions and at that time the resources needed to maintain law and order and other requirements are being increased,” Gupta said.

On Tuesday, a lawyer representing the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) told the court that there was confusion as to what terms licensees would have to abide by, while noting the ongoing controversy surrounding the excise policy. The NRAI had earlier applied to the court for a directive to prevent the Delhi Police from interfering with its operations. While Delhi’s tax policy allows restaurants to operate until 3am, the police have allowed restaurants to operate between 5am and 1am, 24 hours for one restaurant or coffee shop in all five-star hotels throughout the year.

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