Hotel owners’ association moves HC against full day ban on sale of liquor on LS polls counting day

An association of owners of hotels, restaurants and bars on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the orders passed by the Mumbai city and suburban Collectors, declaring the entire day of June 4, when the votes of the Lok Sabha elections will be counted, as a dry day.

A dry day means the purchase and consumption of alcohol are completely restricted at stores, restaurants and other places.

The Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR) filed two separate petitions through advocates Veena Thadani and Vishal Thadani, claiming that it was arbitrary to ban the sale of liquor for the entire day as the counting of votes is likely to be completed and the election results would be declared by afternoon.

The plea is likely to be heard on Wednesday by a vacation bench.

As per the plea, the petitioner association had in April approached the Mumbai City Collector and the Mumbai District Suburban Collector, requesting them to review their decision declaring the entire day of June 4 as a dry day.

However, the collectors said no such review could be done as the orders were passed according to the directives from the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The petitions claimed that the association members pay huge amounts as license fees to the state government for carrying on business, whereas there are several illicit liquor manufacturers and bootleggers who have been manufacturing and selling illicit liquor as well as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer in Mumbai.

Whenever the authorized outlets for sale of liquor are closed, for various reasons, such as illegal businesses thrive and bootleggers make huge profits through the illegal and illicit sale of liquor, taking advantage of the fact that liquor is not officially available.

The pleas sought for the collectors’ orders to be modified to state that the establishments which sell liquor be permitted to open up for business after the declaration of results instead of the whole day.