The Bombay High Court has directed the Secretary (Road) PWD and the Commissioner for State Excise to decide whether certain bars, hotels and permit rooms are covered under the Supreme Court’s highway liquor ban order.
A division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice MS Sonak passed the order while hearing petitions filed by establishments/ shops/ hotels/ permit rooms challenging the closure of their business in light of orders by the respective Collectors or Superintendents from Excise Department.
The petitioners contended that their businesses are more than 500 metres away from any state or national highway and therefore the apex court’s order is not applicable to them.
Advocate General AA Kumbhakoni submitted that the orders have rightly been passed taking into consideration the fact that the petitioners establishments stand covered by the orders dated December 15, 2016, and March 31, 2017, made by the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu vs K Balu.
Noting that the orders for closure of the said premises have been issued without ascertaining in each case whether they fall within 500 metres from state or national highways, the court said:“We are inclined to dispose of this bunch of petitions by directing Secretary, PWD (Road) Department, who will be assisted by the Commissioner for State Excise, State of Maharashtra to decide the grievances of the petitioners and the petitioners' contention that the Hon'ble Supreme Court's directions are not applicable to them. Let this aspect of the matter be considered in each case by the said Secretary with assistance of the Commissioner for State Excise.”
The Secretary (Road) PWD has been directed to pass a reasoned order in this matter before July 5.