The Bombay High Court at Nagpur Bench has set aside the order passed by the Collector of the Yavatmal District to shut the liquor shops on March 7 on the occasion of Holi.

The petitioner i.e., Wine Samrat had challenged the order of the said District Collector which was passed on March 2 under the Maharashtra Prohibition Act.

A Division Bench of Justice A.S. Chandurkar and Justice M.W. Chandwani said, “… we find that the impugned order does not satisfy the requirements of Section 142(1) of the Act of 1949. … merely on the basis of speculation or past experience, the Collector cannot direct closure of liquor shops in the District. Satisfaction is required to be recorded that the same is necessary in public interest.”

The Bench observed that there has to be some material that is required to be considered by the Collector.

Advocate Sahil Dewani appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Assistant Government Pleader N.P. Mehta appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, an order passed by the District Collector, Yavatmal in the exercise of the powers under Section 142(1) of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949 declaring the District of Yavatmal as a dry District on March 7 in view of the festival of Holi was the subject of challenge.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the said order was passed mechanically without considering the requirements of Section 142(1) of the Act of 1949. Whereas, the counsel for the respondents supported the said order by urging that power under Section 142(1) of the Act was exercised for bonafide reasons.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties asserted, “… in the impugned order, there no reference to any communication being issued by the Police Authorities requiring 07.03.2023 be declared as a dry day and on this count the impugned order is found to be unsustainable.”

The Court however clarified that the Collector is not precluded from passing a fresh order in accordance with the provisions of Section 142(1) of the Act with due application of mind and by disclosing cogent reasons.

Accordingly, the Court set aside the order of the Collector.

Cause Title- Wine Samrat, Itwara Chowk, Yavatmal v. State Of Maharashtra and Ors.

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