Liquor To Be Served For 25Yrs & Above In Sunburn: Maha Govt

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL opposing the issuance of liquor license for the upcoming Sunburn Music Festival in Pune after the Maharashtra government and the organisers assured it of measures to prevent minors from consuming alcohol at the event.

A bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and Rajesh Ketkar accepted the assurance of the organisers as well as the state government that alcohol would not be sold or served to those who had not attained the legal age for drinking.

The petitioner, Pune resident Ratan Luth, had expressed an apprehension that since school-going students and minors were likely to attend the event, incidents of underage drinking could not be ruled out.

In its affidavit filed today, the government said it would take all possible measures to ensure that those below the permissible age for drinking did not consume liquor.

In Maharashtra, those who are 21 of years age but yet to turn 25 are allowed to consume beer. To consume hard liquor, one has to attain the age of 25 years.

The government told the court that it would grant liquor license for the event only after ascertaining that the organisers had all the mandatory checks and security arrangements in place and that they complied with the terms and conditions of the police and the state excise department.

Government counsel Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that 240 police personnel would be deployed in and around the venue.

“In addition to the police, state excise department officials will also be present in a separate enclosure, where liquor will be served if the license is granted,” he said.

“Besides, the venue of the event, a private resort, is located outside the city and there is no school, college or place of worship within 500 metres of it,” Vagyani added.

In an undertaking filed before the court today, Percept India, the organiser of the event, stated that no illegal activity would take place during the four-day event, scheduled to take place from December 28.

The organisers also said that in addition to the police personnel, about 340 private security guards would also be deployed at and around the venue to regulate the entry of visitors.

“A total of 150 CCTVs and 120 bullet cameras will be installed across the venue to monitor each activity and keep an eye on any suspicious movement,” said senior advocate Prasad Dhakephalkar, who represented the organisers.

The bench also directed the government and the organisers to ensure that minors did not smoke tobacco products at the event and that no drugs or contrabands were brought to or circulated at the venue.

To this, Dhakephalkar said, “The organisers have a zero-tolerance policy for drug, contraband use. The guards at the entry and exit points will frisk everyone to ensure that no drugs are smuggled in. There will also be sniffer dogs to ensure further checks.

“A constant monitoring of the camera footage will also ensure that no suspicious activity takes place and there will be a separate enclosure for smoking, the entry to which will also be regulated.”

The bench took note of these submissions and directed the government to ensure that the organisers did not breach the undertaking.

“The organisers must pay all the pending dues from the last year’s event and also clear all dues for this year’s event. Also, if they breach any of the terms and conditions, or what they have stated in the undertaking, they will be held in contempt of the court and there will be an adverse impact on next year’s event,” the bench said.

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