‘A procedural lapse’: Goa excise commissioner rejects Silly Souls Bar complaint
Lawyer Aires Rodrigues who filed the complaint against Silly Souls Bar and Restaurant said he will appeal against the excise commissioner’s ruling since it overlooked the fact that the excise licence was obtained by submitting false and inadequate documents and by misrepresenting facts
PANAJI: Goa excise commissioner Narayan M Gad on Thursday dismissed a complaint that sought cancellation of the liquor licence of Silly Souls Bar and Restaurant in Assagao, ruling that there was a procedural lapse in the process of issuing and renewing the bar’s excise licence but these did not warrant cancellation of its licence.
“If a liquor licence is either suspended or cancelled on petty issues, it not only hampers the business but also affects the revenue of the state,” the commissioner said in his 19-page order.
The commissioner’s ruling came on a complaint filed by lawyer Aires Rodrigues on June 29 this year which contended that the excise department illegally renewed the licence necessary to serve liquor in the name of a dead man, Anthony D’Gama.
Anthony D’Gama’s son Dean contested the complaint, arguing that he had the general power of attorney to act on his father’s behalf and after his death, was the legal heir.
Narayan Gad, a Goa civil service officer, said Dean D’Gama wasn’t in the wrong to act on the original licencee’s behalf but should have informed the excise office.
“I am of the opinion that all the three applications -- the original application, the first renewal and the second renewal were made by Dean D’Gama, the respondent herein on behalf of the licencee Anthony D’Gama based on the valid power of attorney. However, Dean D’Gama ought to have produced this power of attorney to the office of excise inspector Bardez at the relevant time and also the officials of the excise station bardez should have obtained the power of attorney from Dean D’Gama. ... Nevertheless this procedural lapse of either not submitting the power of attorney by the applicant or not obtaining the same by the excise officials from the applicant does not warrant cancellation of the excise licence. Some penalty/fine can be imposed for this negligence at an appropriate time,” Narayan Gad said in his order.
“If a liquor licence holder dies, should the business come to an end? The surviving legal heirs of such deceased licence holders should be provided with necessary assistance and support both legal and moral to continue with the business… Within the framework of law, it can be ensured that the livelihood of the licensee or their survivors is not affected. A running business cannot be allowed to be closed all of a sudden,” the commissioner said in his order.
Rodrigues said he will challenge the decision in the high court.
“The excise commissioner in his order totally overlooked the fact that the excise licence was obtained by submitting false and inadequate documents and by misrepresenting facts while there were also glaring procedural lapses on the part of excise officials. I will challenge before the high court the order passed by Goa Excise Commissioner,” Rodrigues said.
The case is connected to allegations by three senior Congress leaders that Union minister Smriti Irani’s family is involved in running a bar at Silly Souls illegally and that it was on account of her influence that the excise officials bent rules. The minister filed a civil defamation suit in the Delhi high court against the three leaders for linking her daughter’s name to the restaurant. The high court observed that Irani and her daughter are neither owners of the restaurant in Goa, nor have they ever applied for the licence for food and beverages at the eatery, as alleged.
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