HC seeks report on liquor shops in City

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the State government to conduct an inquiry and file a report on issuing licences indiscriminately for liquor shops/bars and restaurants across the City.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna has taken up a suo motu petition following a letter to the Chief Justice by Raja Rao, senior citizen and a resident of Bangalore.

In his letter, Rao has said that 50 per cent of the bars were operating in residential areas and that a majority of them have a second entrance allowing people to enter and exit even after prescribed hours, in collusion with the police.

He has claimed that grant of permission to bars was in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Pointing to the wine shops in Upparpet, Magadi Road, West of Chord Road, RPC Layout and Mysore Road, Rao in his letter has said that most of them were open till 4 am. “There are several instances of wine shops besides religious places. Shift the liquor shops or shift the temples,” the letter said. Complaint to officers in this regard will in turn result in harassment of the complainant, the letter said.

Government counsel R Devdas submitted that government cannot initiate action if the permits have been obtained from a competent authority. He stated the difference between commercial and residential areas was not clear.

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