An Andheri-based lounge has landed in major trouble after allegedly allowing several minors in and serving them alcohol. This indiscretion came to light after the mother of one of the teens saw a picture of him and his friends at the club. The mother, along with the elder brother of another reveller, has complained to the Amboli police, demanding action against the club and event organisers.
A photo from the party, which included underage students
The mother of one of the 17-year-old partygoers recalled, "My son was late and when I went through his social media account, I found a picture of him with his friends, all of whom looked like minors. It looked like they were at a pub. I immediately called him and asked him about his whereabouts. He told me that he was at a party in Andheri, and I asked him to come home immediately."
How did they get in?
The mother added, "When he came home late at night, I confronted him and he told me that at the last moment, the event had been shifted from a cafe in Bandra to a bar in Andheri, and all his friends were there. I do not want my son to develop an alcohol or smoking habit. More importantly, how could the bar staff allow him in without checking his ID card? That is why I approached the police to demand strict action against them."
The party was organised on October 3 for college freshmen, most of whom were likely to be underage. The second complainant in the matter said, "My younger brother was at the party with four of his friends. After he reached home late at night, I asked him about the party, and he told me that it was at a pub. I asked him how he was allowed inside. My brother is just 16 years old; he said that most of the crowd was under 18. Some were drinking alcohol and some were smoking. I told him to wait till he was of age before going to nightclubs. I was shocked that nobody at the bar stopped him from going in."
First time at a club
One of the revellers, a 16-year-old, said, "I received an invite on WhatsApp through one of my friends. Originally, the event was supposed to be held at a cafe in Bandra, but few days before the party, the venue was changed. Four of us from my friends circle decided to attend the party and had informed our parents too. But we could not inform our parents about the venue change. It was my first time at a night club; there was music blasting and there were mostly people of my age partying there."
Another 17-year-old student of a south Mumbai college said, "I had gone to the party with three of my friends and found other students of our age partying there. I got scared when my mother noticed that my clothes smelled of smoke and alcohol, so I told her everything. She told me it was wrong, and that I should wait till the legal age to party and drink."
Angelo Fernandes, a social activist, "The event was for freshers, who are mostly underage. Most of the children who were allowed in are below 17 years. The following day, some of the parents told me that their children were served alcohol. This is not right. I brought the matter to the notice of the police and have demanded strict action."
When mid-day contacted the lounge, the call was answered by Jacob, who identified himself as the manager. However, he refused to comment, stating that he would have to discuss the matter with the club owner first.
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What the law says
According to the law, the legal drinking age in Maharashtra is 21 for beer and 25 for hard liquor. Bars that serve booze to the underage will be charged under section 25 (giving intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or psychotropic substance to juvenile or child) of the Juvenile Justice Act, which provides for imprisonment for up to three years, along with a fine.
Senior Police Inspector Bharat Gaikwad, of Amboli police station, said, "We have received a complaint and are conducting an inquiry into the matter."
Minimum age for beer drinkers
Minimum age for hard liquor
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