bombay high court

Bombay High Court: In a writ petition filed challenging the order of the Commissioner of Excise wherein, a liquor licence for the retail sale of India made Foreign Liquor (‘IMFL') and Country Liquor (‘CL') for consumption was cancelled, a Single Judge Bench of Bharat P. Deshpande J., rejected the petition as the transfer of liquor licence was at the discretion of the authority concerned.

In the matter at hand, Deed of Partnership was executed in 2009 between the petitioner and the licence holder, under which the petitioner was permitted to operate bar and restaurant wherein the sale of liquor was undertaken on the basis of a licence issued in the name of licence holder. After the death of the licence holder, his legal heirs/ the respondents 3 and 4 applied for the cancellation of licence with the Excise Department in 2018. The Commissioner of Excise had cancelled the said licence. Thereafter, the petitioner had challenged the said order on the basis of clause 15 of the Deed of Partnership. However, the Appellate Authority rejected the said appeal, therefore, the decision of the Appellate Authority was also challenged before the High Court.

The Court said that it was crystal clear that the said clause of the Partnership Deed nowhere permitted the petitioner to apply for transfer of the liquor licence in his name in the event of the death of the licence holder. At the most such clause showed that the legal heirs were supposed to join as partners upon the death of the original licence holder and in that case, the licence was required to be transferred in the name of such legal heirs. Therefore, the Court said that the interpretation of the clause 15 projected by the petitioner could not be accepted and the Appellate Authority had rightly observed that the petitioner was just trying to mix the issues with regard to the Deed of Partnership with that of transfer of licence under the provisions of the Goa Excise Duty Act.

The Court further said that the transfer of liquor licence is at the discretion of the authority concerned and when the legal heirs had applied for cancellation of the said licence, the Excise Commissioner was bound to cancel it.

Therefore, the Court had rejected the petition for being devoid of merits.

[Dattaram Govind Naik v. State of Goa, Writ Petition No. 245 of 2020, Order Dated: 15-06-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioners: Advocate C.A. Coutinho, Advocate Ivan Santimano

For the Respondent: Additional Government Advocate S.P. Munj, Advocate J. Mulgaonkar, Advocate Akshay Shirodkar

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