Andheri by-poll elections: Bars can open after 6pm or declaration of results, govt tells HC

The HC was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association seeking quashing of the order passed by the government on October 18 imposing restrictions on operations of bars and sale of liquor on November 6, the vote-counting day

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, November 02, 2022, 08:25 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that the restriction on sale of liquor on the day of counting of votes for the Andheri by-poll elections will be operational till either 6 pm or till the declaration of the results, whichever is earlier, Additional government pleader Milind More informed the vacation bench of Justices NR Borkar and Kamal Khata on Wednesday.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association seeking quashing of the order passed by the government on October 18 imposing restrictions on operations of bars and sale of liquor on November 6, the day of counting of votes for the Andheri constituency by-poll elections.

The elections will be held on November 3. Rutuja Latke, widow of Ramesh Latke, of Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, is contesting unopposed for the seat which fell vacant after her husband’s death. The BJP has withdrawn his candidate from the elections.

The plea claimed that the government order was contrary to and ultra vires to the provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949 and the Rules made thereunder, including the Foreign Liquor Rules and Cash Register Rules.

RD Soni, counsel for AHAR, argued that the respondents cannot simultaneously apply the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act, which is a central legislation and the Rules made under the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949 in respect of the same election.

Soni contended that they were concerned about the restrictions imposed on the last date i.e. 06/11/2022, which would be used for counting of votes. He submitted that the provisions of Section 135(C) of the Representation of Peoples Act does not contemplate the date of counting of votes for prohibiting or restraining the petitioners from carrying on their business.

Government pleader informed the HC that the restrictions imposed by its order would operate till the declaration of results or 6.00 p.m. on 06/11/2022, whichever is earlier.

The court accepted the statement and kept the petition for further hearing before regular court after vacation.

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