The High Court of Karnataka has directed the police not to interfere in the lawful businesses of over 27 bars and restaurants in the city. Hearing a petition by the Karnataka Hotels, Bars and Restaurants Owners and Working Women Welfare Association and 27 bars and restaurants, the court said the police can only interfere in illegal activities of the joints.
Justice B Veerappa heard the case. The bars and restaurants had accused the government and the police of forcing them to close their businesses from September 28, citing law and order problems since they employ women.
The court said there is no illegality since the restaurants operate with valid licences obtained under the provisions of the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965, and have trade licences from the BBMP under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
The restaurants said the City Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths visited their joints and verbally ordered them to close their businesses for employing women. They said the CCB and city police failed to respond to the legal notice issued by their association, asking them to give a written notice. The bars and restaurants also asked why 1,000 women working in their outlets should be put to starvation without a job.
The state told the court that they did not give instructions to close down the businesses. The court told the state to issue instructions or directions in writing henceforth. The court also said if the restaurants indulge in illegal activities in the guise of running bars and restaurants, the police is free to take action against them. It asked the petitioners to ensure that their businesses are run in accordance with the law and disposed of the case.