28 Sep 2009
Declaring that no person has a fundamental right to drink all night, the Delhi High Court recently dismissed a petition claimed to be in public interest seeking the intervention of the High Court to the effect that the Regulations made by the Government be changed to all liquor being served in bars whole night.
The applicants pointed out that the regulations relating to serving of liquor in the eating houses, restaurants, bars, places of public entertainment etc. were anomalous as Delhi Police Regulations state that eating houses can remain open till 1.00 a.m. whereas the licences issued to bars and restaurants by other State agencies state that they can serve liquor on all seven days of the week for all twenty-four hours by making payment of extra licence fee. This incongruity was challenged before the Court.
Not seeking to indulge, the High Court dismissed the petition holding that the applicants "do not have a fundamental right to drink all throughout the night". The Court was also quick to caution that "public interest litigation is a weapon which has to be used with great care and circumspection and judiciary has to be extremely careful to see that behind a beautiful veil of public interest, an ugly private malice, vested interest and/or so called publicity seeking is not lurking."
Not only, in this view, was the petition dismissed, but also the applicants were directed to deposit a cost of Rs. 10,000/- with the Prime Minister Relief Fund for having filed the petition which "does not espouse any public cause".