Change the law, not the lawkeeper

Is the transfer of the bar raider cop, ACP Vasant Dhoble, a reason to rejoice for the city’s party animals? The keeper of the law may have changed, but the law of the land remains. So let’s not jump the gun here.

In a recent move, the home department clipped the wings of Dhoble by limiting his jurisdictions from the entire city to just two police stations, ie Vakola and Vile Parle. If sources from the Mantralaya are to be believed, Dhoble was held accountable for the loss of tourism in Mumbai, while police sources claimed that the new police commissioner Satyapal Singh is reversing Patnaik’s moves. But there is no clear vision on what really led to Dhoble’s transfer.

Whether it is Dhoble or any other officer, to stop such vigilantism from seeking the cover of the law, Maharashtra’s archaic rulebook seeks an urgent review with the rapidly changing times. The government should take a look into the pesky laws — the ones that don’t affect our right to shake a leg or raise a glass?

The Bombay Shops and Establishment Act (1948), Bombay Police Act (1951) and the Bombay Prohibition Act (1949) drafted soon after Independence, has been the sole reason for killing the city’s cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Legal experts say that Dhoble is only a medium; a brand created by then police commissioner, Arup Patnaik to pull the reins on errant pub owners and discotheques across Mumbai. If it wasn’t Dhoble, it could have been any officer.

The move of shunting Dhoble to side posting is not an indication that the Mumbai police had given the go ahead to the party hoppers. If Dhoble’s regional in-charge, additional commissioner of police Vishwas Nangre Patil bestows him with special powers, Dhoble will continue raids from Bandra till Andheri, which is the hub of city’s nightlife.

The need of the hour is to review the archaic laws, and not just transfer the officers implementing them. 

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