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Excise Department notification paves way for re-opening of Bars & Permit Rooms within City Limits

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Mumbai

The Maharashtra State Excise Department on September 5, 2017 has issued a notification to all concerned authorities to begin re-issuing or renewing licences of bars and permit rooms affected by the Highway liquor ban which had come into effect from April 1, 2017. The move comes after the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s (SC) clarification regarding the non-applicability of ban on sale of alcohol in hotels and restaurants within Municipal limits. The notification states, effective 4th September 2017 any liquor vending or liquor serving establishment that may have been affected by the ban can apply for renewing their licences after providing the required documents and paying the necessary fees. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) expressed gratitude to the Commissioner of State Excise for expediting the order.

“Two weeks ago the Hon’ble SC had issued a clarification stating that the ban was aimed at sales along roads that provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages and not at roads that fall within Municipality limits. This clarification paved the way and the State Excise Dept. has issued a notification to amend the law which will allow all the affected establishments to go back to business as usual. It is unfortunate that business suffered and jobs were lost over the last five months, but the clarification has brought a huge relief. HRAWI will continue to work in the best interest of the industry and wishes all its stakeholders a speedy recovery,” says Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI.

The notification issued by the State Excise Department has referred to the Hon’ble SC’s hearing on the case between the State of Tamil Nadu v/s K. Balu & others, civil appeal number 12164-12166 dated 15/12/2016 and 31/03/2017. It is in reference to this case that the Hon’ble SC issued a clarification effecting that the ban does not apply to liquor selling or serving establishments which fall within the Municipality limits.

“In the last five months the industry has suffered a loss of roughly INR 5000 crore and this is only in the State of Maharashtra. The notification will provide relief to approximately 25,000 restaurants and 5,000 hotels operating on the State and National Highways and which fall under either Municipal Corporations or City Councils or Cantonment Boards or Town Municipalities. We wish to thank the Commissioner of State Excise for expediting issuing the notification. We also request the concerned authorities in the rest of the States in the Western region to take cognisance of the Hon’ble SC’s clarification and make the required amends at the earliest to stop businesses from suffering any longer. Meanwhile we will continue our efforts of creating awareness amongst customers and members regarding the perils of drunk driving,” Datwani addded.

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