Baner pubs re-opened after Excise commissioner over-ruled Pune District collector
The state excise commissioner said that the district collector’s order was flawed “on many counts” including technicalities and other issues.Updated: Apr 06, 2018, 15:02 IST
On August 4, 2017, Pune district collector Saurabh Rao cancelled the FL-3 (Permit Room permission) of all the pubs in Deron Heights except Irish Village (Elixir Restaurant). The basis for cancellation was nuisance caused to residents, safety issues posed by pubs, traffic congestion, police recommendation that the pubs be closed and violation of terms and conditions of the liquor licences.
A new FL-3 was given to Irish Village on the grounds that this pub had got police NOC on March 23, 2017, after the residents had complained. Hence, the collector said in his order that there was no safety or security issue arising from this pub.
Two months later, on October 3, 2017, state excise commissioner Ashwini Joshi overruled Rao, described his action in her order as “high handed”, and restored all the cancelled FL-3 permits.
“As of now we do not have any segregated demarcation of urban areas. Hence, the complainants contentions regarding the law and order cannot be upheld. The rest of the contentions of the complainant regarding noise and air pollution would be best left to the relevant department,” Joshi said in her order.
Joshi, in her order pointed out that the complainants P. Pandya and others, residents of Celina Co-op Housing Society, said that the pubs in Deron Heights “had been functioning in a purely commercial complex and a similar type of licence has been functioning opposite the complex for many years (Mahabhaleshwar Hotel).” She said that the two Bombay High Court judgements cited by the residents were not relevant as petition 3440 of 2011 related to grant of FL-3 in a purely residential area while petition 3130 of 2012 called for a public hearing before grant of licence. In the Baner case, Joshi said that the pubs were located in a commercial complex and the government policies did not have provision for a public hearing before granting of licence.
The state excise commissioner said that the district collector’s order was flawed “on many counts” including technicalities and other issues. She also found the recommendations by two deputy commissioners of police for cancellation of licences to be flawed. Joshi, in her order said that the police department’s assessment “should be based on the communal sensitivity of the area. It cannot have different assessment for a functioning bar and for a grant of new licence. The general assessment of law and order will be similar for the entire area.”