The Bombay High Court on Monday said that the practice of deploying two police personnel outside restaurants and bars is not in public interest. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by restaurant and bar owners from Thane opposing the move of police deployment. The move, according to the police, is to ensure that waitresses are not employed beyond the specified time.
A division bench of Justice NH Patil and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai said: "Let us all be rational, if you post two policemen outside 36 restaurants, then you are losing 72 policemen. They can be deployed at railway and bus stations or can crack some criminal cases which are on the rise."
The bench was surprised with the police move. It said: "This move is sheer waste of time and talent of policemen. They should be imaginative and should not be made to sit under a tree doing nothing."
A total of 36 petitions were filed in the high court by the restaurant and bar owners. One of them is Barkur Shetty, who owns Prakash Hindu Hotel (Rukhmini Palace) in Thane. Shetty claimed that policemen have been deployed outside his business premises since November 2013.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Veena Thadani argued: "Their presence creates fear in our patrons and affects our business." She also argued that the policemen sit from 1pm to 1am.
"This is not a police state that such impositions should be allowed," she said.
Public prosecutor SK Shinde opposed the plea and said: "We have come across untoward incidents and the practice is adopted in public interest. There has to be some regulation."
However, the court said, "Surprise checks can be allowed after 9.30pm and that will be in public interest. However, these are merely administrative duties and it can be resolved amicably."
The court has now directed the police to file their reply within two weeks and adjourned the hearing till then.