The verdict cancels a 1.30 am curfew set by the city’s police, which was censured by many including hotel and restaurant owners, who took the matter to court.
The state government had also urged the police to reconsider its decision.
But the city’s top cop, Satyapal Singh, said that the 1.30 am deadline was in the interest of the safety of women. He said that late New Year’s celebrations would be tough for an over-worked and under-staffed police force to supervise.
The judge who heard the case today rejected the argument that an earlier curfew would protect women. “Did the Shakti Mills gang-rape case happen on New Year’s Eve?” he asked, referring to August’s sexual assault on a young woman photographer at a deserted textile mill in the heart of the city which made headlines across the country.
“The point is curtailing legal celebrations will only give rise to hidden ones that might not be in the best spirit of the society, ” tweeted Aditya Thackeray, the 23-year-old leader of the regional Shiv Sena, which had opposed the police’s 1.30 am curfew.
Noted lawyer Harish Salve said, “What a travesty- courts have to set closure time of pubs and parties. The political system ceded space to avoid taking unpopular decisions and then they complain of judicial overreach. Imbalance between institutions is a threat to democracy.”