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HC asks govt not to renew licence of liquor shop near Kanpur school after 5-year-old student moves court

In his PIL, Atharva Dixit said as the liquor shop remains open throughout the day and is a meeting point of 'anti-social elements', it is creating disturbance to the students of the school.
Last Updated : 09 May 2024, 20:45 IST
Last Updated : 09 May 2024, 20:45 IST

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Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to refrain from renewing the licence of a liquor shop located near a school in Kanpur after a five-year-old student of the school approached the court, seeking directions to relocate the store.

In his PIL, Atharva Dixit said as the liquor shop remains open throughout the day and is a meeting point of 'anti-social elements', it is creating disturbance to the students of the school.

The petitioner also sought directions to the state authorities to refrain from granting the country-made liquor shop in Azad Nagar in Kanpur a fresh or renewed licence for 2024-25, as, according to him, the distance between the liquor shop and his school is only 30 metres.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Bhansali and Justice Vikas Budhwar restrained the state excise authorities from granting/renewing the licence of the shop in question after expiry of the present licence on March 31, 2025, i.e. for the financial year 2025-26 onwards.

In response to the PIL, the state government relied on the provisions of Rule 5(4)(a) of the Uttar Pradesh Number and Location of Excise Shop Rules, 1968. The proviso to this rule stipulates a distance of 50 metres between a liquor shop and any place of worship, school, hospital, or residential colony.

Further, if any such place comes into existence after the establishment of the shop, the provisions of this rule do not apply. Since the shop in question has been operational for over 30 years and the school was established in 2019, it was submitted that there is no violation of the rules.

However, the petitioner's counsel argued that if a school is established after the liquor shop, it should not result in the closure of the shop during the current financial year. However, once the licence in question expires, no fresh licence or renewal should be granted. Therefore, rejecting the petitioner's representation on these grounds is factually incorrect, the petitioner added.

The court in its decision dated May 2 said, "The mere fact that the shop has been used as a liquor shop in a financial year prior to the school came into existence, is not sufficient for invoking the proviso for the purpose of granting licence year after year in as much as the licence is issued to the licensee on his fulfilling the eligibility under Rule 8 of the Rules of 2002 and not to the shop in question."

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Published 09 May 2024, 20:45 IST

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