India: Man in court over 'suspicious tea-drinking'

People drinking chai in Mumbai

Indian police arrested a restaurant owner for drinking tea "in a suspicious manner", it seems.

When Sub-Inspector Jadhav asked what Vijav Patil was doing at a tea stall in the town of Kolhapur one mid-morning, he was unhappy with the explanation of "cutting chai" - grabbing a quick half-glass of tea - reports the Times of India. So it seems the officer arrested him under a law that allows preventative detention of someone suspected of being about to commit a crime.

However, Mr Justice Gautam Patel, at Bombay High Court, was not impressed and ordered police to drop the case. "We were unaware that the law required anyone to give an explanation for having tea, whether in the morning, noon or night. One might take tea in a variety of ways, not all of them always elegant or delicate, some of them perhaps even noisy. But we know of no way to drink tea 'suspiciously'," he's said to have ruled. Prosecution pleas that Mr Patil was known to the police reportedly cut no ice with the judge: "Cutting chai is permissible, cutting corners with the law is not."

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