HC partly relaxes dry day rule imposed by Maha govt for civic body polls
A bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice PR Bora ruled that there was no need to impose the ban on sale of liquor from two days before the polls [February 19] and also for the entire day on the day of counting [February 23]...mumbai Updated: Feb 19, 2017 19:37 IST
The Bombay high court on Friday partly relaxed the four-day ban imposed by the state on the sale of liquor in Mumbai, Thane, and other areas in the wake of the civic polls.
A bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice PR Bora ruled that there was no need to impose the ban on sale of liquor from two days before the polls [February 19] and also for the entire day on the day of counting [February 23] considering that the votes are counted electronically and results are “announced rather early.”
The ban thus, will now be effective on February 20 and 21 for the entire day and on February 23 only till the declaration of results. The bench, however, directed the state to ensure that sale of liquor continues to be banned on the election days.
The state excise department had earlier issued a notice declaring two days prior to the polling date — from the evening of February 19 till 5pm on February 21 ‘dry days’. Mumbaiites will vote for the BMC polls on February 21. Sale of liquor had also been prohibited for the entire day on February 23.
The state had justified the ban claiming that it had powers to do so under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. During the hearing, the bench however, realised that the above Act provided for such ban only during Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
The state excise department’s notice was challenged by the Hotel Owners Associations from Mumbai, Thane, Alibaug, and Nashik. The plea said according to the excise department’s list of ‘dry days,’ February 21 was already declared a dry day for Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti, and February 24, for Mahashivratri.
The petitioners had said effectively, the prohibition on sale of liquor will be in force for “five days and cause them a loss in revenue” and that the order, “infringes upon their fundamental right to earn a livelihood”.