The Bombay High Court has decided to interfere in an order passed almost 19 years ago on November 26, 1998, wherein BN Sanas Company Pvt Ltd, which runs a liquor shop in the name of Nupur Wines in Pune, was asked to pay Rs. 1.5 lakh as composition fee for license transfer.
Justice Anoop Mohta passed this order after this matter was listed for final hearing during vacations.
BN Sanas Company Pvt Ltd had applied for transfer of licence and business under the provisions of Rule 61A of the Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953, before the state Excise Department. Although, the Excise Department quashed and set aside the order passed by the State Excise Commissioner and restored the license, it was subject to payment of composition fee of Rs. 1.5 lakh.
The said petition challenged the order imposing the fine under Section 104 of the Bombay Prohibition Act.
Petitioner’s counsel Veena Thadani argued that in similar cases, a composition fee of around Rs. 5,000 was charged, however, her client was asked to pay Rs. 1.5 lakh. This, she described, amounts to “treating equals unequally”.
The court noted that no reason has been given for imposing such a huge compensation against the petitioner. Therefore, the composition fee has now been reduced to Rs. 10,000.
Once the petitioner informed the bench that the total fine amount (1.5 lakh) had already been deposited, Justice Mohta directed the state excise department to refund the remaining amount, which is Rs. 1.4 lakh, within six weeks.
Read the Judgment here.