BAN OF HAPPY HOURS IN INDIA - COMPARATIVE STUDY
Submitted during Internship under Legal Specs by Sanjana Sridevi.
Happy hours are a kind of attraction to the people who are more often tempted to drink. Basically, these are introduced by the bars to attract people on the weekdays when the number of people who come to the bar is very low. The bar owners usually come up with attractive offers like if you pay for three pegs then one peg is free or it can be like if you buy a certain number of pegs you will be served with a starter. These kinds of offers are attracting mainly the youth to consume a huge amount of alcohol than is required. It is influencing people to consume the quantity more than what is required. It's just like the discount policy where we tend to buy more and more products just because they are being provided at a lower cost even when we do not need them.
WHY BAN THEM ?
Happy hours are a reason for the increase of accidents which are taking place in India. There are various incidents which are taking place even without notice. The target groups of these happy hours are usually minors. Minors mainly do this by providing fake IDs and they tend to drink. This kind of habit becomes harmful to all people. Mainly due to this the drinking, and drive rate is being increased. This practice is actually banned in many countries like Alaska, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina etc. as they are usually seen as a cause of rising accidents.
It encourages the youth to binge drink. Binge drinking is when men or women sit and consume drinks that are very huge in the amount at a time in one sitting. It is very harmful to the health because it can cause many liver problems, respiration problems and this can lead to addiction of alcohol. Addiction to alcohol is very dangerous as it is very difficult to get rid of alcohol and there are rehabilitation centers all over the world for such kinds of people which indicates how aggravating this problem is. It can be gotten ridden on by our own trail, it is very difficult once you get addicted. If the youth who are the target group of these happy hours are addicted to such things then the future of the country will be in question.
LAWS IN VARIOUS STATES
Massachusetts - This was the first country which has brought a law that there must not be the sale of alcohol at a discounted price. In 1984, when there were a huge amount of accidents that were taking place due to these discounted prices the Governor in that state signed a ban on Happy Hours there was support from people, and lawmakers, and a surprising response was also found from the bar and restaurant owners. Lawmakers say that in the last thirty years, there have been incidents that might have put an end to the ban on alcohol.
North Carolina - The law here is very specific and very clear. There are various restrictions when it comes to conducting happy hours and no bar is allowed to sell alcohol at a discounted price. The bar owners are only not allowed to give any discount on any kind of product which is being sold in the bar. There is another rule or law which says that only one bottle will be provided for one person and he can not demand a second bottle whatever his status might be. It is very particular in its law and it prohibits the sale of pitchers and buckets also when any solo person has approached the bar. This means that if and only if you are ready to show that all your friends are present at the table and are ready to consume alcohol only then the buckets will be sold.
Alaska - The rules here are way stricter and there are many rules which are imposed on bartenders and especially on restaurants. Bartenders are not supposed to sell more than two pegs usually and if you want a third peg then you must show that you have consumed the two of them completely and only then the third peg will be offered. This law came into force in 1986 and this has not been withdrawn till now.
Indiana - The law here says that liquor can not be purchased on an election day nor on Sunday’s.
Oklahoma - The law here is very typical law in this country. More than 6 percent discount can not be given on a liquor bottle at the original price. The bar owners are not allowed to give any number of drinks and there must be a cap on the amount of liquor being served. Owners are not allowed to give any offers that provide drinks which are more than the price.
DRAM SHOP RULE :
This rule has been observed in one case called Schelin v. Goldberg, in which the said rule was proposed. A drama shop is a place where usually liquor related products are sold. It will make the drama shops responsible for the acts which are committed by their intoxicated consumers. It means that if a huge amount of liquor is served then what is required then the bar tender or the management will be liable at first if such intoxicated consumer commits any crime. It might be drinking and driving or indulging in bar fights. The principle on which such a liability is imposed is negligence. It is regarded as a negligent act. Here the main intention which will be taken into consideration is that the bartender was negligent in serving more alcohol than what is required and he had a knowledge that such amount could create intoxication which may lead to further accidents.
In Cowman v. Hansen, There was another rule which was observed. Not merely because the bar tender offers more than what is required is not relevant, it is also in every case of legal action there must be a proximate cause which must be established. It means that if there is any accident which has taken place by the intoxication then it is very important to show that such an action has happened due to the negligence on part of the bartender.
In Jardine v. Upper Darby Lodge , the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reasoned “The person who would put into the hands of an obviously demented individual a firearm with which he shot an innocent third person would be amenable in damages to that third person for unlawful negligence. An intoxicated person behind the wheel of an automobile can be as dangerous as an insane person with a firearm. He is as much a hazard to the safety of the community as a stick of dynamite that must be defused in order to be rendered harmless. To serve an intoxicated person more liquor is to light the fuse”. This court also held that “the first prime requisite to de intoxicate one who has, because of alcohol, lost control over his reflexes, judgment, and sense of responsibility to others, is to stop pouring drinks into him”.
It would be a great idea if there is an introduction of such laws in India also because most of the profitable business nowadays is always related to liquor and it’s high time we introduce such a law in India also. There are also several guidelines that were given in Indian case laws also but they are not sufficient. In a 2017 order, it was said that there must not be bar shops on highways in the vicinity of 500 meters which means that there is a need to introduce such laws. It is the need of the hour.