Christmas eve turned out to be a downer for many party organisers and partygoers. Different directives regarding the deadlines from two departments — the State Excise Department and the Police department — left revelers confused and hoteliers surprised.
On one hand, the police denied taking any application for the extension of the deadline till 5 am for Christmas Eve. On the other hand, the State Excise Department issued a notice (the copy of which is with MiD DAY) stating that all permit room license holders could operate till 5 am, whereas people with vendor license could operate till 1.30 am.
Many renowned pubs and banquets that had planned to cash in on the Christmas party were disappointed as they had already promised their patrons a nightlong party. “Even after a meeting with government authorities regarding improving tourism in the city, it is back to square one again,” said Sudhakar Shetty, President of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR).
“Every year we got permission till 5 am on Christmas Eve. However, this year the cops have refused it. What’s the use of discussing things that are not possible?”
For pub owners, the last minute cancellation acted a dampener as well. “The worst part is that the Government had asked us to apply just a day prior or on the day of the event,” a pub owner from Colaba said. “How can we do something special for people and organise a party like this? Looking at past records, we promised our patrons a nightlong party. Many have also paid the entry fees. Facing them has been tough.”
He also grumbled that a similar situation on Dec 31 last year had confused most owners as the Bombay High Court (HC) had refused to allow music to be played till 5am at the last moment. “Though the Bombay High Court had allowed bars, pubs, party halls and orchestra bars to operate till 5 am on January 1, all these establishments were asked to abide by the 1.30 am deadline. The issue came to light after cops refused to grant permission to orchestra bar owners to play music till 5 am when the owners had already sought permission from the department,” he added.
However, Sadanand Date, Joint Commissioner Of Police (Law & Order) stood firm. “We have not given any permission to extend the deadline till 5 am today (on Monday) and we haven’t taken any decision for December 31,” he told MiD DAY.