Gurgaon pub owners move SC seeking clarification in order
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Haryana says excise dept interpreted the court ruling wrongly.gurgaon Updated: Mar 01, 2017 21:42 IST
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Haryana (HRAH) filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking clarification and modification in the recent order of the apex court directing closure of liquor vends, bars and restaurants within 500 metres of state and national highways.
The association filed the petition on February 17 but the hearing date is awaited. In the petition, the association has mentioned that while the order banning liquor sale is meant for vends, the state excise department has interpreted it in a manner that affects thousands of bars and restaurants across the state. The association filed the petition after obtaining a legal interpretation of the Supreme Court order from top legal experts, members said.
Manbeer Choudhary, president, HRAH said experts are of the view the order pertained only to liquor vends. “The very first paragraph of the judgment states that the issue which we address in this case is about the presence of liquor vends on national and state highways across the country, and does not mention bars and pubs,” Choudhary said.
The association said its members are not selling liquor in the open but serving it in closed spaces. Hotels and restaurants are not encouraging public drinking. In fact, many of these are classified as ‘to promote tourism’.
Choudhary said the excise rules for liquor vends/shops and restaurants/bars (restaurants and bars in a hotel or stand-alone) vary across states. “These issues have to be kept in mind when the excise department interprets the ruling, and issues directions for closure. We are permanent establishments with heavy investment,” he said.
The association members said if the bars and restaurants are closed, the business would suffer heavy losses. Also, the pub/bar owners demanded that the motorable distance be measured by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram or other government agencies.
A senior excise department official said on condition of anonymity that the department acted in compliance with the Supreme Court order and also sought legal opinion from the state advocate general. The official said the department will follow guidelines if any clarification is issued by the court.