HC orders reopening of liquor shops & bars in Guwahati



Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court has directed all liquor shops and bars, closed earlier, having licences acquired before March 18, 2005, to reopen.

Justice Ujjal Bhuyan in an interim order passed yesterday ordered reopening of bars here and directed the Assam government to submit a report of the administrative inquiry into grant of permission to liquor shops and bars by officials who violated norms.

The order came after a high power committee formed by the state government to inquire into granting of liquor licenses and loss of employment and state revenue suggested that bars and wine shops having licences before March 18, 2005 may be allowed to reopen as the distance restriction of 500 metres was introduced only on that day.

A petition was filed by the All Assam India Made Foreign Liquor Retailers' Association pleading modification of an earlier order by the court passed on July 9 directing closure of all liquour shops and bars within a radius of 500 metres of educational institutions and religious places.

The high court had passed another order on August 24 allowing reopening of bars and liquor shops, which were granted licenses till March 13, 2000.

There are 303 liquour shops and 128 bars in the city and following the latest order, about 22 liquor shops will still remain closed.

The next date of hearing was fixed on November 26.

PTI