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A prostitute can sip coffee at a café: Top lawyer

Wednesday, 31 May 2006 - 11:43pm IST

‘Owners can’t do a thing if two adults meet at a coffee joint, become friends and leave together’

‘Owners can’t do a thing if two adults meet at a coffee joint, become friends and leave together’


MUMBAI: Can a prostitute have a cup of coffee or tea at a coffee joint? “Why not? It’s her constitutional right like any other individual, provided she does not behave indecently or solicit clients inside the establishment,” said noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon.


Reacting to the police action against three popular coffee joints—Barista, Cafe Coffee Day and Fanoos—at Oshiwara circle, Memon said, “It’s the duty of the establishment owners to keep an eye on prostitutes soliciting prospective clients on their premises. At the same time, they can not do anything if two adults meet in a coffee joint, become friends and leave together.”


Lawyer Satish Maneshinde said it was difficult to identify a prostitute in these joints.


Lokhandwala resident and former Miss World Yukta Mookhey, who is a regular at the Barista, was miffed by the police action. “It’s absolutely stupid. It was such an energy place. We all go there for coffee,” she said.


However, local resident Raju Manwani, a prominent member of Lokhandwala Lion’s Club, welcomed the police clampdown, saying such places had turned into pick-up points. “I fully support the police action,” he said.


A spokesperson for Barista Coffee Limited said in a statement, “Barista has always been positioned as the friendly neighbourhood café, known for serving high quality coffee, beverages, desserts and quick bites. With over 140 cafes across 23 cities in India, and an international presence, we are a much-respected brand and have been selected as a ‘Superbrand’ for the second time in a row. Our guests include luminaries from various fields and public figures. Our outlets are brightly lit and are designed with transparent glass walled entrances to provide a sense of openness and security to our guests. The ambience is far from being sleazy.”


The statement also said, “With respect to the recent events in Lokhandwala, we have not come across any unusual situations. We are a socially responsible and law abiding organisation and will accept any suggestion and recommendation that Mumbai police may have.”

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