The Bombay High Court imposed a cost of Rs. 10,000/- on a petitioner who filed petition against opening of a Country Liquor Bar, as it abutted the National Highway.

The Bench of Justice Milind N. Jadhav observed that “the Petition proceeds on the basis of the violation of fundamental rights of the Petitioner under Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India. However, Petitioner has not given any event or incident as to how his fundamental rights are violated. On the contrary the Respondent No. 3’s right under article 19(1)(g) to carry on trade and business by following the due process of law is in fact hampered on the allegations of the Petitioner.”

Advocate Veena B. Thandani appeared for the petitioner and AGP P.G. Sawant appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner had preferred the writ petition against the order of Nashik District Collector wherein shifting of respondent no.3's Country Liquor Bar to a new premises was allowed, and the same was upheld by the State Excise Minister.

It was contended by the petitioner that NOC was not granted by Peth Nagar Parishad for the commencement of a Country Liquor Bar in a predominantly residential area and that the condition of distance from the National Highway, in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment of 2016, was also violated.

The Court was apprised of the fact that the subject premises were situated at a distance of 235 away meters from the National Highway and that there was no educational or religious institution or statue of any national leader within the distance of 100 meters.

The question to be dealt with was whether the petitioner had the locus to challenge the petitioner’s CL III license on account of non-compliance of certain statutory conditions by respondent no.3.

The Court noted that the petition was not filed by the petitioner in a representative capacity on behalf of the residents in the area even though it was argued that having a Country Liquor Bar in the predominantly residential area was detrimental to the residents of the area but no pleadings were made regarding the same.

On perusal of records, it was noted by the Court that due process of law was followed by the Licensing Authority in granting the license and that the entire gamut of documentary material i.e. Application, NOC, permission, affidavits, orders, etc. were confirmed by the Collector of Nashik, Commissioner of State Excise and the State of Maharashtra.

“That apart, the Statutory Authority has confirmed on affidavit that the transfer application in respect of Respondent No 3 was thoroughly inquired into by Respondent No. 1 only after following the due process of law the same has been issued. Record also indicates that Respondent No. 3 has received N.A. Permission for Plot No. 284 in the year 1996 and copy of the same is produced on record.” said the Court.

Hence, the objection of the petitioner that statutory conditions were not-complied by the respondent was rejected.

Accordingly, the writ petition was dismissed and the petitioner was directed to pay costs of Rs. 10,000/- to the Kirtikar Law Library, High Court, Mumbai.

Cause Title- Rahul Giridhar Pathade v. The Collector of Nashik & Ors.

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