BOMBAY HC ASKS GOVT. UNDER WHAT LAW PHOTO-IDENTITY PROOFS ARE DEMANDED FOR HOTEL ROOM BOOKING
The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the state government to explain under what rules or provision of law, hotels have been directed (by the authorities) to collect the names and photo-identity proofs of those who want to book a room.
A division bench consisting of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, while appreciating the police efforts to maintain law and order in the area, said, “Obviously, it is a laudable intention. There is no doubt that the police's intention was to regulate and find out if there was any prostitution racket. But, at the same time, care should be taken to ensure that innocent people are not harassed and their privacy is not invaded. Police cannot take a moral stand.”
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident Sumeer Sabharwal, terming the raids conducted recently at Malwani area as “illegal, intrusive and unconstitutional” and seeking action against police officials involved.
Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde informed the court that police received complaints from local MLAs and residents that hotels in the area were being used to run prostitution racket. “The complainants claimed that girls living in the area were being abused by miscreants. Hence, higher authorities directed the local police to take action.”
The court directed the police to file an additional affidavit by September 22. On August 6, the police had raided hotels and bars in Malwani area and imposed fine on several couples on charges of indecency.