Notice to Bangalore police on closing eateries post-midnight

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday sought the stand of the Karnataka government and the Bangalore police on a lawsuit challenging a police order that all eateries, restaurants and hotels in the metropolitan city close after midnight.

A bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly sought the stand on a lawsuit by several hotelier associations, including Bruhath Bengalooru Hotels Association, challenging the Bangalore Police commissioner order dated May 19, 2009, which stipulated that all places of public entertainment would remain closed from 12 midnight to 6 a.m.

The lawsuit challenged the police order contending that the relevant section 31 (1) w of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, under which the police commissioner has issued the prohibitory order against eateries and restaurants does not deal with the police power to regulate the timing of eateries and restaurants.

It said only the state government is empowered to issue such orders, regulating the timing for opening the restaurants and hotels, under Karnataka Shop and Commercial Establishment Act, 1961.

It said the police order ran contrary to another order by the state government, issued by the state government on July 28, 1987, exempting hotels supplying meals from restriction of timing.

The lawsuit also pointed out to the court that the Karnataka High Court, despite holding that there were procedural violations in issuing the order regulating the timing of eateries, did not strike down the same and asked the police to issue it afresh after removing the technical and procedural violation in issuing the same earlier.

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