THANKS to an obnoxious law passed 63 years ago, lakhs of people and doctors have become liars.
To get a drink permit, you have to tell a lie and adopt fraudulent procedures.
And the doctor has also to tell a lie: He has to invent some bogus problem – usually connected with the nervous system and then issue a certificate. Charge then: Rs.25 to Rs.100. Now it could be more. Like everything else, doctor’s certificate also costs more. And the totally bogus certificate gets you a drink permit.
You have to tell lies, the doctor has to lie and resort to fraudulent methods to enable you get permission to drink. Even when you are in robust health, you have to tell a lie that you have a disease which requires alcohol consumption. This is nothing but the height of hypocrisy.
Most people today do not have permits. They can drink in clubs, bars and in their own homes without possessing a permit.
As per the law, you cannot have a drink in the privacy of your own home.
And the police can slap the law on you at any time and haul you up, arrest you and put you on trial. If you are convicted, you get six months in jail and a fine of Rs.10,000.
The government thus gives the police the powers to harass citizens. Anytime a police officer so decides, you can become a victim.
Such persecution by the police does happen in our democratic country.
It happened at a ‘rave’ party in the suburbs of Mumbai this week.
Over a hundred people who were holding a party on the terrace of a hotel at Juhu were persecuted by the police.
Just half an hour after the party started, 50 policemen (who apparently had nothing better to do) raided the place. They frisked all present and caused great embarrassment to women who were looking forward to a happy collective celebration. All of them were taken to the police station and detained there. Later, they were taken to hospitals where their blood and urine samples were taken. They were being tested for drug and alcohol consumption.
According to reports, there was no sign of any drug consumption. The police must have been hugely disappointed.
The police now want to prove that the raid they carried out was necessary. Press reports say all those who have consumed alcohol will be charged with the drinking -without-permit offence.
Do you see there a touch of vengeance?
The totally unnecessary persecution by the police has drawn huge attention of the city. But there has been no reaction from the Home Minister. He has apparently chosen to remain silent.
The chief minister had so far, perhaps no idea that an obnoxious, hypocritical permit law exists. He has come to the state only recently but now that he knows, will he take necessary action? The obnoxious law must be dropped and buried deep.
The law gives powers to the police to harass innocent citizens. At the party at the Juhu hotel were doctors and scientists. And quite a few intellectuals. One of those who were detained had such a traumatic experience that he did not attend office for three days. Only criminals should be taken to police stations. There are hundreds of cases of crime taking place in the city. The police should be totally involved in such cases.
As in any other profession, there are black sheep in the police force. They bring a bad name and spoil the image of the police.
That there are policemen who want to harass citizens is becoming increasingly clear. They have invented some excuses for their action. For instance, when a party is held they suspect it could be a prostitution racket.
Invasion of citizen’s privacy
The police should never invade the privacy of citizens. Is it possible that persecuting an innocent citizen gives them a thrill? There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason for some of their strange action.
For instance, why did the police arrest some 17 senior citizens who were playing card games – like bridge rummy in an Andheri club – on a gambling charge? In all clubs, card games are popular.
The senior citizens approached the court with a petition. The police said when they raided the place, they recovered cards, counters and some money.” The judge trying the case said: “Gamblers do not carry so little money. They have much more.” The defence lawyer said that “because they are games of skill, they do not fall under the gambling act.” And finally the judge who stopped further investigation into the case observed: “Things are getting murkier every day.”
The police had detained the 17 senior ‘gamblers’ for a long time even though they could have let them seek bail immediately.
According to the police, perhaps all those who play cards in clubs or homes are gamblers. In the FIR, the police had not mentioned which card games the senior citizens were playing. They were playing bridge and rummy – hardly games used for gambling.
Heavens are not going to fall and the order and peace of the city will not be disturbed, if people drink at parties without the fraudulently got permits or if some senior citizens play bridge and rummy in club.
It is atrocious that the senior citizens were detained for a long time. Their plea in court showed how merciless the police were. They had to spend a whole night at the station. They told the judge they were not allowed to make calls, not allowed to eat or take medicines and injections. What is most shocking is that one of the ‘criminals’ whose leg was in plaster was not allowed to sit.
The senior citizens were playing bridge and rummy for several years without being labeled as gamblers. The police said a gambling gang was busted. Why do the police harass innocent citizens? Do existing laws give them a chance to make citizens suffer?
Why does the Home ministry which has control over the police intervene when such disturbing incidents take place?
Finally, it is not the police but the man at the top who is responsible for “things becoming murkier.” It was Congress party’s Morarji Desai who introduced prohibition in Maharashtra.
A farce was enacted throughout the state.
The police could raid any home – let alone clubs, bars and other public places – and carry out search and seize operations.
The bootlegger and the prohibition department of the police benefited hugely — thanks to prohibition. It was at that time the obnoxious law with regard to health permits came into force. Prohibition resulted in a diabolically farcical situation.
But it was another Congressman at the top – chief minister V.P. Naik – who abolished prohibition. Don’t blame the police for the obnoxious happenings. It is the leaders at the top who are responsible for unpleasant, disturbing behaviour of the police.
Just think how dreadful it is that 100 innocent men at a party who tested negative for drugs are reportedly being charged with alcohol consumption. As per the obnoxious permit law, they can be sent to jail for six months and slapped with a Rs.10,000 fine.
And horror of horrors – 17 innocent senior citizens – in the last days of their life – playing bridge and rummy in a club being seized, detained at the police station without food, medicines and then charged under the gambling act.