Sea Princess case: HC summons Mumbai police chief

Severely castigating the police for acting in a biased manner by singling out a five-star hotel, the Bombay HC directed the city police commissioner.

Mumbai: Severely castigating the police for acting in a biased manner by singling out a five-star hotel, the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the city police commissioner Arup Patnaik to appear before it on March 31.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R D
Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by Hotel Sea Princess
challenging an order passed by the deputy commissioner of
police (traffic) rejecting the permission to issue license to
run a discotheque inside the hotel.

The court had in October last year asked the police to
be "unbiased and non-discriminatory" and directed them to
consider the petitioner`s application afresh and also to take
action against all those hotels which do not follow rules
prescribed while issuing licenses to run discotheques.

The court was today informed that the application of
Sea Princess was rejected again by the traffic police
department and show cause notices were also issued on March 20
to eight other hotels including five-star hotels like Grand
Hyatt, Le Meridien and J W Marriott.

The court was irked over inaction on part of police in
taking action against the hotels.

"It seems like you (police) have issued the notice
just to show to the court that some action has been taken. It
is an eye wash. From October nothing has been done and just a
week before the matter is to come up for hearing notices have
been issued," Justice Majmudar said.

Directing the city police chief to remain present on
Saturday, the high court said, "We want the commissioner to
tell us what steps will be taken against such officers who
have flouted our order and taken action just to appease the
issue. This is really shocking. If somebody has done something
wrong then he will be punished."

According to the petitioner, the permission to issue
license to run discotheque was rejected as the hotel does not
have a partition wall separating the disco and the restaurant.

Petitioner`s lawyer M M Vashi had earlier told the
court that there were several other hotels running
discotheques without the specified partition but no action was
being taken against them.