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Karnataka govt decides to renew liquor licences following SC order


BENGALURU: The lost sheen is set to come back to the central business district of Bengaluru with the Supreme Court allowing the renewal of liquor licences in the area. Senior officials in the excise department said they have initiated the process of renewing the licences, which had expired on July 1 following the apex court’s earlier order banning the liquor sale in the proximity of highways.

“The direction for the renewal of the liquor licences is expected any moment. We are following the procedure and the process in on,” joint excise commisioner Rajendra Prasad told TOI.

The jubilant pub owners are getting ready to resume business and some of them are thinking to re-open their outlets as early as next week.

“We are very happy at the outcome, now looking to resume the business,” said Ashish Kothare, management committee member of National Resturant Association of India (NRAI).

Kothare is among the pub owners, who had moved the Karnataka high court seeking renewal of the liquor licences. The high court on last Thursday dismissed the batch of petitions citing the Supreme Court’s order pronounced on December 15, 2016 that banned the liquor sales within 500 metres range from national and state highways.

Bringing cheers to the city’s pub owners, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a clarification to its earlier judgement according to which the liquor business is allowed in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits.

“The purpose of the directions contained in the order dated 15 December 2016 is to deal with the sale of liquor along and in proximity of highways properly understood, which provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages. The order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas,” said the SC order that dismissed a special leave petition (SLP) filed by an NGO from Chandigarh challenging the de-notification of state highways in the city done by the Chandigarh administration.

The SC had dismissed the SLP on July 11, 2017 the detailed order of which was uploaded to its web portal on Wednesday late evening.

“This clarification shall govern other municipal areas as well. We have considered it appropriate to issue this clarification to set at rest any ambiguity and to obviate repeated recourse to IAs,(interlocutory applications) before the Court,” the SC order said.

In line with the Supreme Court’s December order, 10,060 liquor vends in the state – five-star hotels, pubs, bars & restaurants and retails shops – closed their business following the expiry of the licences on July 1, 2017. In Bengaluru city, about 660 vends were shut and the pub district in and around MG Road area wore a deserted look since the MG Road has been technically designated as a national highway.

Source: Times of India

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