Court permits liquor sale in Mumbai after Lok Sabha poll results are out on June 4

Mumbikars will be allowed to consume alcohol in the city on June 4 after the Lok Sabha election results are announced, Bombay High Court said in its ruling.
Court permits liquor sale in Mumbai after Lok Sabha poll results are out on June 4
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

The Bombay High Court on Friday allowed the sale of liquor in Mumbai after the results of Lok Sabha elections are announced on June 4. The court called it a "bar friendly measure".

A vacation bench of Justices NR Borkar and Somasekhar Sundaresan ruled that the ban imposed by the city Collector on the sale of liquor by hotels, restaurants, bars, and permit rooms will cease to have effect once the election results are declared in Mumbai.

The court was hearing the pleas filed by the Association of Owners of Hotels, Restaurants, Permit Rooms and Bars (AHAR) challenging the orders passed by the Collectors of the Mumbai city and Mumbai district suburban declaring the whole day of June 4 as a dry day.

The pleas argued that the sale of liquor should be permitted once election results are declared.

Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan informed the bench that the Collector for Mumbai district suburban had already issued a letter modifying the earlier notification, declaring June 4 as a dry day. However, no such modification had been issued by the Mumbai city collector.

The bench noted the discrepancy, pointing out that while people in the city suburbs could drink after the declaration of results, those in the city could not. The high court remarked, "Let's work it out. There has to be some parity".

Six parliamentary seats in Mumbai went to poll on May 20 and the results for the same will be declared on June 4 along with nationwide counting of votes.

Advocate Veena Thadani, appearing for AHAR, pointed to previous orders passed by the high court in cases pertaining to other districts where courts had modified the local administration's order to state that "Alcohol sale restriction will cease to have effect after declaration of results".

Thadani submitted that in most cases of vote counting, the procedure ends by afternoon, so in effect, there was no need to impose restrictions for the entire day and that would hurt the business of alcohol sellers.

However, the city collector said that he had not modified the order as it was passed based on the direction of the Election Commission of India.

Meanwhile, the high court bench questioned: "How can one elector modify an order and the other cannot?"

The bench was in fact amused at the situation and asked if people in the city area will have to go to the suburbs to consume alcohol and what would happen if people who have consumed alcohol in the suburbs returned to the city.

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Court permits liquor sale in Mumbai after Lok Sabha poll results are out on June 4

After hearing both sides, the bench passed an order directing that after the declaration of results in Mumbai, the dry day spell would end.

Source: India Today

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