Bombay HC Refuses To Urgently Hear Pleas By Bar & Restaurants Against License Suspension By Excise Department

Bombay HC Refuses To Urgently Hear Pleas By Bar & Restaurants Against License Suspension By Excise Department

The Bombay high court on Friday refused to grant an urgent hearing in six petitions filed by different bar and restaurants owners challenging action by the excise department alleging that the same was “high handed” following the Porsche car accident in Pune on May 19 which killed two persons.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2024, 10:18 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday refused to grant an urgent hearing in six petitions filed by different bar and restaurants owners challenging action by the excise department alleging that the same was “high handed” following the Porsche car accident in Pune on May 19 which killed two persons.

Their advocates Veena Thadani and Vishal Thadani mentioned the petitions before a vacation bench of Justices MM Sathaye and Somasekhar Sundereshan seeking urgent hearing saying that after the Pune accident, the excise departments was suspending their licenses her in Mumbai citing minor issues like not producing certain documents. “Just because something has happened somewhere, we are being targeted and we are being made scapegoats,” Veena Thadani said.

The bench said that the establishments should furnish necessary documents before the authority. Thadani submitted that even though the requisite documents were submitted, the licenses were being suspended without giving them a hearing. However, the judges refused to hear the petitions saying that they had 30 matters listed for hearing.

One of the petition was by Deepak Tyagi, 59, owner of Goodluck Bar and Restaurant on Belasis Road in Mumbai Central contending that an inspector from the excise department visited the place on May 25 and found a few breaches – women waitresses were allowed to work in the licensed premises after the prescribed time, liquor was sold to customers without valid permits, and liquor was served outside the permit room area.

Tyagi contended that he was neither given a show cause notice nor was he given a personal hearing before suspending his license on May 27. The suspension order cited serious breaches and said that he would be given a personal hearing on June 10, until then he was asked to keep his establishment closed. He then filed an appeal before the Excise Commissioner who orally refused to stay the suspension order.

Hence, he approached the HC contending that keeping the establishment would lead to heavy losses since it is his only source of income. Besides, he contended that he has 25 employees, who too would suffer because of the action.

His plea stated, “the State Excise Department seems to have swung into action and is targeting restaurants and bars in order to portray as if a crackdown has been initiated on all Restaurants and Bars, in view of the unfortunate drunk-driving accident case that has occurred in Pune”.

Temring the “high handed action” as “wholly unjustified”, the plea alleges that the excise department is “trying to portray its efficacy at the cost of targeting restaurants and bars in Mumbai by closing down the business of restaurants and bars on some ground or the other”.

On May 19, a minor boy driving a Porsche car rammed into two techies killing them. The boy was found to be drinking alcohol at a pub before the incident. Since then, action has been initiated against several establishments serving liquor to minors or for breaching other norms as well.

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