HP HC | Court denies petition to shift liquor shop from near a temple, holds allotment of liquor vend reasonable for the defined period

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Narayana Swami, CJ and Jyotsna Rewal Dua, J., disposed of an appeal in the proceeding for shutting down/shifting of liquor vend from Gram Panchayat, Beri, to Gram Panchayat, Jangal, District Hamirpur.

The counsel for the petitioner, Ajay Sharma and Anandita Sharma, stated that the liquor vend was just 20-30 meters from ‘Shani dev temple’ and the Gram Sabha had passed a resolution requesting the authorities to shift the vend from Gram Panchayat Beri to Gram Panchayat Jangal.

The counsel for the defendants, Ajay Vaidya and Surinder Saklani, contended that the vend was allotted in accordance with the existing Excise Policy also the liquor vend confirms the distance requirement and the temple was not visited by the public at large thus it would not fall under the category of place of worship by public at large. In addition to that, the temple was built just around six months back whereas the liquor vend existed from a prior period than the temple. The period of operation of liquor vend was from 01-04-2019 to 31-03-2020. The liquor vend was already operational for the past eight months then.

The Court while disposing of the petition explained that only after the allotment of liquor vend in favor of respondent they were running the same w.e.f 1-4-2019 and said allotment was valid only till 31-3-2020, the said liquor vend could run till 31-3-2020. The Court also issued directions to the State Government to make conscious decisions in such matters. [Arun Thakur v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 1923, decided on 15-11-2019]

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