Excise dept to investigate Juhu drink driving mishap

Apr 04, 2012, 06:50 IST | Urvashi Seth

Decides to crack down on establishments serving liquor to underage tipplers; bar owners allege they are being made scapegoats

A day after the Santacruz police booked the five youngsters injured in Saturday’s drunk driving mishap for drinking without permit, the State Excise Department has now decided to investigate and take stringent action against Royalty pub in Bandra, where these youth had partied and were served alcohol, despite being below the permissible drinking age.

All the five youngsters Rahul Mishra, Amit Gupta, Krishnamani Thevar, Priyanka Rai and Nimisha Mane, were booked under Section 66 (1) (b) of the Bombay Prohibition Act on Monday. 

Priyanka and Nimisha, who sustained grievous injuries in the accident, are battling for their lives. “Our team of officers will be investigating what made the pub serve drinks to these teenagers. Also, we will be taking strict action against city bars, if found guilty of violating drinking norms.

Even bars have responsibility of checking whether a tippler visiting their establishment is eligible for drinking and has the required drinking permit. If the person is eligible and lacks a drinking permit, then the bar should sell a day’s permit to the patron,” said a senior excise official.

 N M Mudiraj, superintendent, state excise department (suburbs), said, “We will be acting tough against permit rooms, if found guilty of violating excise norms.

Every permit room is issued with one-day drinking permits, which they can sell to any tippler, who is of legal age. Moreover, we would be checking out for excise violations committed by Royalty pub owners, if any.”

However, the bar owners are of a different view. “There is a shortage of one-day drinking permits. Excise department should make sure that every permit room in the city is given enough permits to sell. One cannot play the blame game and hold bars responsible for everything,” said a bar owner from Andheri.

Did you know?
Drinking without permit is a cognisable and bailable offence. There are various penalties depending on the circumstances and factors, including the quantity of liquor involved. To acquire one-year or a lifetime permit, you need an identity proof along with two photographs. These permits can be obtained immediately on submission of application. 

Check before you drink...
>> That you are over  25 years of age
>> That you have a drinking permit
>> While buying or transporting alcohol, liquor permit is a must
>> If found guilty of violating any of the above norms, you could be jailed for up to 5 years or fined upto Rs 50,000

One-day permit (available at all bars, pub, wine shops and hotel): Rs 5 
One-year permit: Rs 100 Lifetime permit: Rs 1,000

Bar owners cannot stop customers from drinking, but at least they should ensure that they check their identity cards. Besides, teenagers shouldn’t
be allowed into places where they have easy access to alcohol.
— Viren Shah, Vakola

Bars need to ensure that they don’t serve drinks to teenagers. They can inform the nearest beat chowkie, if they spot someone, who is driving after drinking.
— Manoj Sharma, Juhu

How can a cop determine whether a person has come from a bar and not a house party? Strict nakabandis are the only solution.
— Sajan Abraham, Andheri  

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