The Bombay High Court has asked why the police were wasting their time and talent by manning bars for 12 hours, instead of serving people. It made these observations while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by 36 bar-owners in Thane district objecting to the presence of constables in the bars for 12 hours.

The petitioners have alleged that it caused fear in the minds of the customers. The State, however, defended the move saying that the constables supervised if any female waitresses were working beyond permissible limits.

The government pleader told the court that the police undertook the drive after a policeman was suspended in 2013 when some waitresses were found working beyond permissible time limits.

According to the petition, the bar owners have employed female singers and waitresses as per the guidelines issued by the police. These guidelines have specified the timing till which the singers and the waitresses can work. The police said they monitored if there was any contravention of the guidelines.

The petitioners alleged that the police were wasting the time of 72 constables who would generally sit in the bar. The lost manpower, the court observed, should be used for public interest and to take care of law and order issues.

“Let us be rational. If you post two policemen outside 36 restaurants, then you are losing 72 policemen. They can be deployed at railway stations or bus stands,” the Division Bench headed by Justice N.H. Patil observed.

The court has given the police two weeks time to respond to the petition and resolve the issue amicably.