The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the excise authorities here to look into allegations of unauthorised pubs and bars operating in a residential area in Safdarjung Enclave.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said the excise department’s status report finding “nothing incriminatory” at these premises during inspection “did not inspire confidence” and expressed concerns over alleged non-compliance with fire safety norms in the outlets which were stated to be functioning in basements in Humayunpur village.
The lawyer for the Delhi government said no excise licence was awarded to the 24 restaurants operating in the area and barring one against whom an FIR has been registered, liquor was not found in the premises during a physical inspection and some joints were found to be closed.
The court questioned how as per the excise department only one restaurant was found to be in possession of liquor when as per the petitioner, parties were recently advertised by them on social media.
“If something is going wrong, correct it. There can’t be such a wide gap on facts,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna.
“Some of the joints are running without a fire exit. What if someone dies? How will people exit?” it asked.
The court asked the excise department to hold another inspection in the area and listed the matter for further hearing on December 14.
In a status report filed in the case, the Municipal Corporation Delhi said it has taken punitive actions against joints found running without the health trade licence.
Petitioner Prashant Kumar Umrao, a lawyer, had moved the high court earlier this year seeking action against the authorised restaurants and pubs in Humayunpur village.
Represented by lawyers Praveen Singh and Vishal Rai, the petitioner has alleged that these outlets have become a source of nuisance for not only the residents but also those visiting nearby public places such as Deer Park.
The petition has said the people visiting the bars in question leave “in a severely drunken state” and become a threat of accident for the residents, especially children. The local residents often witness public nuisance in form of fights and the loud music from these outlets disturb peace, it added.
The plea further claimed that the operations of the bars also resulted in traffic problems in the area and their location is such that there is not sufficient space for emergency vehicles to move in if there is a fire.