Guwahati, Aug. 17: An advocate here today submitted an intervening application in Gauhati High Court seeking to extend its August 9 interim order on closure of liquor shops and bars within a 500-metre radius of educational and religious institutions, hospitals, dispensaries and courts in Guwahati, to rest of the state.
Sanjoy Kumar Medhi, a lawyer of the high court and son of former Assam law minister Suren Medhi, submitted the petition.
It was submitted with a plea that as the court had issued the interim order based on a government stricture that no liquor shop or bar can run within a 500-metre radius of educational and religious institutions, hospitals and dispensaries and courts according to Section 183 (2) of the Assam Excise Rule 1945, which came into effect in 2005, the same should be followed uniformly across the state and not limited to Guwahati.
“I appealed to the court that since the rule is for the whole of Assam, the same should be followed in rest of the state. The court accepted my application and it may be heard during the next hearing on August 21. I made the appeal as there are several liquor shops and bars close to religious and educational institutions, hospitals and dispensaries and court in other towns,” Medhi told The Telegraph.
The court of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan on August 9 had issued the interim order during the hearing of the writ petition (2856/2012) filed by Arun Pathak, owner of Mid Town bar situated in Christian Basti, which was served temporary closure notice by Kamrup (metro) district administration on March 29, citing public complaints of nuisance.
On the reason for the closure notice, government advocate B. Chhetri had informed the court that according to Section 183 (2) of Assam Excise Rule, 1945, which came into effect in 2005, no liquor shop or bar can operate within a 500-metre radius of educational and religious institutions, hospitals and dispensaries in the city.
Following the affidavit, the court issued the order stating that the same rule should be implemented uniformly and not selectively. Following the order, around 300 liquor shops and 128 bars in Guwahati have been closed down.
The All Assam IMFL Retailers’ Association and the state government submitted two petitions seeking modification of the court order.