Mumbai nights to turn livelier soon

December 13, 2015 02:09 am | Updated November 28, 2021 07:40 am IST - MUMBAI:

Devendra Fadnavis has approved amendments to the Bombay Police Act

Devendra Fadnavis has approved amendments to the Bombay Police Act

Amid an intense debate on nightlife in Mumbai — a city considered cosmopolitan and liberal — the Maharashtra government has significantly clipped the role of the city police as a regulating authority, which gives permission for public performances and licences to operate hotels and restaurants.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday approved amendments to the archaic Bombay Police Act, 1951, removing the police’s regulatory role in restricting public performances, such as film shoots, musicals, dancing, mimes, theatrical or other performances for public amusement, including melas and tamashas. In its place, a standard operating procedure issued by a soon-to-be set up administrative committee will be put in place.

With the new changes, hotel and restaurant owners will no longer need to take operating licences, or what is commonly known as the Place of Public Entertainment Licence (PPEL).

“The honourable Chief Minister has given his approval on Thursday. In all, three licences will be scrapped, including the PPEL and the Performance Licence regulated by the police. Procedural formalities will be completed in the next ten days before it is implemented. Now, nightlife in Mumbai could have a better glow this New Year’s,” Vijay Satbir Singh, Principal Secretary, Home Department, told The Hindu. The changes have come as a great relief to filmmakers, organisers of gay pride parade, orchestra groups, hotel owners, who have in the past faced harassment and discrimination at the hands of enforcement agencies while seeking permission.

The notification for the changes to Section 33 of the Act will be issued early next week declaring removal of three licences: First to go is the Police Registration Licence under clause 33(1)(X) (a), which makes registration eating houses mandatory with the police. Another licence, Place of Public Entertainment Licence (PPEL), under clause 33 (w) (i) (ii) and (iii), meant to maintain separate permit rooms in bars and renewal of eating houses, has also been scrapped. Also scrapped is Performance Licence (Phonographic) under clause 33 (WA), which controls public performance on the grounds of public order, decency and morality, regulating employment of artists, conduct of artists and audience, and prior scrutiny of scripts.

“It is a welcome move simply because there is a lot of corruption in the police, who regulates even shoots on private land. No producer wants to scout for locations abroad but widespread corruption and labyrinth of permissions mean we have little choice,” film producer Mukesh Bhatt said.

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