Midnight closure of hotels upheld

Order does not amount to violation of appellants fundamental right



Hearing a writ appeal by the Empire group of hotels, the division bench comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B V Nagarathna upheld the constitutional validity of the police commissioner’s order by observing, “The police commissioner has the jurisdiction to pass such an order and it would not violate the fundamental rights of the appellants.”

But the bench has said that the commissioner has to issue prior publication under Section 31 (2) and 31 (6) of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, which was not been followed.

“Before issuing the notification, prior publication was a mandatory requirement under the act, The police commissioner must re-issue the notification after following the procedure contemplated under the Karnataka Police Act,” the court observed. But the court has refused to keep the police commissioner’s order dated May 19, 2009 in abeyance.

Until the new notification is issued following procedures, the present notification will be in force, and the appellants are at liberty to seek permission before police commissioner to run their restaurants beyond the midnight deadline. The Empire group of hotels in their appeal had challenged the single bench order dated August 8, 2009, which upheld the police order to close the restaurants by midnight. The appellants had argued that the police commissioner had no powers to pass such orders, as fixing the deadline for closure. 

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