It is an incident that I witnessed in a pub and asked myself how should pub culture be in India?

group of people gathering inside bar
Photo by Evonics on

This is article is to share an incident that I witnessed in a pub.

I was sitting in a pub with my family and friends in Bengaluru. While we were engrossed in our talks and listening the live-band, I suddenly realized that table next to ours got occupied by a bunch of teenagers.

There were four guys and a girl. No sooner they sat, they started talking loudly. Their filthy language was audible even in the loud music. As the time passed, almost all of them lit cigarettes. Everyone was proud of the puff taken and were trying different ways of smoking. Their appearance depicted that they are too young to enter a pub. However, they were there sitting next to us, having fun time. Then, suddenly I overheard the girl sitting with them asking “WHICH SCHOOL YOU ARE IN?” to which guy replied confirming that he was in his teen and rest all got lost in the sound of music.

It was a shock to me, seeing, these teens in the pub.  I thought of complaining to the Manager of the Hotel for allowing smoking by teenagers in the pub, just to realize that their order was taken that included hard drinks.

I couldn’t stand the irresponsible behavior of the pub managers so I stared the table, the teenagers and left the place. But even after leaving the place, the sight didn’t leave me which filled my mind with lots of questions.

I kept asking myself if accepting pub culture is better than allowing goonism in the name of moral policing?

Looking at law, Alcohol is the subject in the State List, under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Therefore, law governing alcohol varies from state to state. Though from the high level, I would say that the states are strict in implementing these laws seriously and imposes strict punishments on those who violate it. Almost every other state has made clear laws with respect to sale of alcohol, alcohol consumption, drinking and driving etc., I have seen strict implementation of “Dry Days”, “Dry States” etc.

But, at the ground level, especially as mentioned in the incidence above, I am not sure what is the way to stop the violation?

We have laws and regulations, however, we don’t have a “playbook” that makes these laws and regulations easily implementable by the public.

In a populous country like India, I don’t expect police everywhere to keep an eye on every person. However, I do expect a “code of conduct” to be displayed before entering a pub that should clearly inform people about the law abidance with respect to the activities in the pub premises. It should include rules regarding smoking, drinking and individual’s conduct. Also, law should make it mandatory to display a reporting mechanism, for a “misdemeanor”/”violations”.

For the healthy execution of law and awareness in public, the pub authorities and staff including gate keeper/s, waiter/s and manager/s should be held accountable and should be authorized to ask for id cards in case of suspicion. For its effective implementation, support of government should be there to provide proper training forum to the individuals handling such reporting of “misdemeanor”/”violations”, and, pub authorities should also do the needful without any fear or harassment to the public, keeping decorum and time in mind.

Often, such issues get neglected since no one has time to go through long legal proceedings for the recourse that doesn’t impact directly, the one complaining, and only impact the society at large.

We are living in modern age. Our cities are developing and setting a stage for our future. Hence, maintaining a balance between our moral obligations and social development is the necessity of the hour. Remember, prohibition is not the way but, accepting the cultural change with prudence is.

Author: Neha A. Roy

Author is a lawyer by profession and has a decade of experience working with law firms, start-ups and multinational companies. She is based out of Bengaluru, India. Apart from the above, she is a philanthropist and loves nature.

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