Too young to serve wine

Published: 23 February, 2010 08:27 IST | Namita Gupta |

Minor made to serve liquor at Maharaja of Mysore Srikanta Datta Wodeyar's birthday at the Bangalore Palace on Sunday

Minor made to serve liquor at Maharaja of Mysore Srikanta Datta Wodeyar's birthday at the Bangalore Palace on Sunday

The palace was lit up and celebrations went on like there was no tomorrow. In keeping with time-honoured tradition, the maharaja of Mysore, Srikanta Datta Wodeyar, celebrated his 57th birthday with pomp and pageantry at his Bangalore palace on Sunday night.

Long live the king! King Srikanta Datta Wodeyar (In black suit) with his wife Pramodha Devi walk together after the fashion show at his Bangalore Palace on Sunday, where Mallinath (inset), a college student tended the bar on the day. Pic/Satish Badiger

Ramp on fire

Sassy models sashayed down the ramp, under Prasad Bidapa's directions in silk finery designed by the royal designer. All, in short, was well, except for the wine section at the bar counter, which was managed by a 17-year-old boy, much against the law that clearly states that minors cannot serve alcohol or work as bartenders.

No Kidding: Mallinath studies in a Mysore college. He helps out at the palace during the Maharaja's birthday every year. Pic/Namita Gupta

Wodeyar looked dapper in a black suit as he sat with Pramoda Devi admiring the leggy models who walked the ramp in his creations for his 57th birthday celebrations. Many models find him extremely charming, especially now after he underwent surgery at the Mallya Hospital to rid himself of 25 pounds of flab. Everything was designed like it was just out of a fairy tale. But for one thing. A young boy, Mallinath, not yet 17, was among other bartenders serving free-flowing liquor. When nudged, Mallinath said in a very confident tone, "I'm 17. I study in a college in Mysore. I come to the palace every year for the Maharaja's birthday. Will you have red or white wine?" "Pass me the white please and please smile for me," I said. And he did so with panache, like a star in the making.

The Other Side

Carlton, the Maharaja's manager, who was present at the birthday celebrations at the Palace on Sunday said, "The event was organised by the people in the city. We don't know about this."

Lawyers speak

Children below a certain age are barred from serving liquor. In fact, they are not allowed to be around the area, where liquor is served. We spoke to a few lawyers on the subject. Manoj Arora, a senior lawyer with the Supreme Court in New Delhi, says, "The law differs from city to city. In Delhi, the law states that the person needs to be 25 years and above to be a bartender."

M Devdas, a senior lawyer who worked on the bar girls' case in the city, says, "The person should have completed the age of 18 years. Employing a minor is an offence. There is no upper age limit on bartending though. If you want to spoil your business you can employ an old woman too."

Ravi Shanker, deputy SP (Excise), says, "A person has to be at least 18 years of age to be a bartenders in Karnataka."

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