HC quashes show cause notice against 8 liquor shops in Jammu

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Quashing show cause notices issued by the government against eight liquor shops in Jammu, the High Court has asked the administration not to interfere in their business during the currency of their licenses. 

M/s Neelam Wine Shop through Manjit Singh, M/s Novelty, M/s Ram Pyari Wine Shop, M/s Apex and Co Wine Shop, M/s Grapes Wine Shop, M/s Nasheeli Wine Shop and M/s Sunny Wine Shop had filed separate petitions against the notices by the government that their licenses had been transferred outside the legal heir and family in violation of the rules. 

A bench of Justice Javed Iqbal Wani scrapped the show cause notices after observing that the same were prepared mechanically in a “cyclostyled form” addressed with hand written names of the notices and with a general allegation that the licenses held by the petitioners had been transferred outside the legal heirs in violation of the rules without precisely setting up cases against the petitioners based upon the respective relevant record. 

While the Court held that the bar of transfer of licenses to anyone except an heir was not applicable, it said the show cause notices cannot, in law, said to be proper show cause notices standing the test of fairness, reasonableness and adherence to the principles of natural justice.

The Court said the petitioners have suffered considerable prejudice in that the government on the basis of show cause notices admittedly intended to proceed against them. The court directed the authorities to “forebear from causing any interference to the petitioners in the conduct of their businesses in terms of their respective licenses held by them validly as on date unless there is any other legal impediment thereto.”

“It is made clear that this Court did not express any opinion or make any observation qua the allegations leveled against the petitioners in regard to their respective licenses and should the respondents (government) decide to contemplate /initiate an enquiry against the petitioners qua the allegations, they shall be free to contemplate /initiate the same notwithstanding the quashing of the impugned show cause notices” the Court said.

The Court, however, said the government in that event shall strictly follow the mandate of the law as well as principles of natural justice.