A hotel in the heart of the city organised a party on Saturday with female bartenders serving customers, against the the state excise laws.
Violating the Punjab Excise Act 1914, Hotel City Heart Premium in Sector 17 went allowed a party in its discotheque-cum-lounge, Xtronica, where women were serving liquor to the customers. The organisers had also advertised the event with posters highlighting “Female Bartenders Day and Night” in the city.
According to Section 30(B) of the Act, no woman can be employed or permitted to be employed either with or without remuneration in any licensed business premises where liquor or intoxicating drug is consumed by the public. The Act clearly prohibits any woman to serve liquor during business hours at any place where alcohol is sold by a licensed person and served to public and is applicable in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Confirming that liquor was served by women at the party, at first the hotel’s owner, Baldev Narang, had said, “In licensed bars, women above the age of 25 are allowed to serve liquor,” and also answered to Chandigarh Newsline about the the party being organised by the hotel.
But when asked about the violation of the excise Act, he retracted from his statement. “The party was a private one, I think. I don’t know much about it,” he said. “The posters may have been pasted by somebody else,” he said, when asked about the name of the hotel and its lounge bar printed on the posters.
Narang later again changed his statement and went onto to say, “We sent the girls back. They had arrived here, but we were not sure whether to employ them at the party or not.” Party-goers, however, confirmed to Newsline that female bartenders were serving liquor at the party, which went on till 1.30 am in the morning
“The department will look into the matter as soon as possible. The conduct of the organisers is a violation of the Act and if proved guilty, they will be penalised,” said Naresh Dubey, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner.
The license of the bar would also be in suspended or cancelled entirely.