Press Trust of india

J&K HC seeks Excise dept response on petition against liquor shop in Dalgate locality

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stepped in on a petition by residents of Dalgate, a locality on the banks of the Dal lake, for shifting a liquor shop in the residential area which is near a school and a religious place.

Hearing a writ petition filed by three people on behalf of residents of the locality, Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey gave the Excise department time till August 27 to file a reply to the objections raised.

In a two-page order, Justice Magrey highlighted the objections filed by the residents, and asked the authorities to reply whether all laid down rules were followed in granting permission to the shop located at Boulevard.

It may be mentioned that the shop was already in the news after standing counsel for Goa in Supreme Court Prashant Umrao tweeted a video of the area, showing liquor being sold at double the printed price.

The same video was shared by former BJP MP from Gaya Hari Manji, who also tagged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, saying he should look into the nexus of this kind of black marketing as it was spoiling the name of the administration.

In their petition, the residents sought to ensure the promotion of the greatest virtues, ethics and morals in the youth of the localities, and at the same time, ensure the eradication of drug abuse and other vices.

The petitioners pleaded that they are interested in enforcing and promoting welfare of the youth of the localities so that they prosper and blossom into responsible and healthy citizens which would ultimately benefit the whole nation.

The petition said the distance between the residential area and the liquor shop is less than 30 feet, and that two schools and a religious place is situated very near to it.

They informed the High Court that when they came to know the Excise department was in the process to grant liquor vend licence in the area, they approached the authorities from time to time by way of written complaints, mentioning that the area is entirely residential and two government schools and a  religious place are in the vicinity.

The petitioners also highlighted in their complaints to the authorities that a residential building even shares a common wall with the liquor vend, but all their pleas fell on “deaf ears”.

The petition said that from time to time, different courts of the country have directed the authorities to shift liquor shops from residential areas.

The petitioners expressed fear that the liquor vend has become a place for drug trafficking, flesh trade, gambling and other anti-social activities, and has taken its toll on a sizeable portion of the populace, including the youth.

They highlighted that there were quite a few educational institutions in the vicinity, and the opening of a bar would leave students vulnerable to addiction, besides encouraging waywardness.

They also cited Article 47 of the Constitution of India which enjoins a duty on the state to improve public health and to endeavour to prohibit liquor consumption except for medicinal purposes.

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