Hotels and restaurants across the state, whose applications for renewal of performance licences are pending with the police, received some good news from the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
These hotels can carry on with their plans for New Year’s Eve until 5 am on January 1. The division bench of justice SJ Kathawala and justice UD Salvi, on Wednesday, clarified that performance licences would be considered renewed as long as licence renewal applications were pending with and not rejected by the police.
The court was hearing a petition by the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association challenging the police’s decision not to permit hotels to continue business beyond midnight on December 31, despite the government’s decision to allow it. The state home department issued a circular on December 23 extending the usual deadline of 1.30am to 5am for New Year’s Eve. In view of the circular, and an order passed by the high court on December 27, the association had approached the police seeking permission to continue business till 5 am on December 31. But, the police refused saying relief granted by the high court would be limited to petitioner hotels and restaurants only. The refusal compelled the association to approach the high court.
Counsel for the association, Veena Thadani, pointed out a provision in the Public Entertainment Rules, which granted deemed renewal of performance licences if an application was made and not specifically rejected. Additional government pleader, GW Mattos, opposed the petition contending hotels and restaurants not complying with licence conditions were not entitled to the benefit of added time. He also pointed out that they were taking advantage of the rule by submitting applications at the last moment.
The judges said the police can revoke licences of those who haven’t complied with conditions.