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Bombay HC grants reliefs in renewal license fees for hotels, restaurants amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Bombay High Court has granted relief to the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHAR), which has over 8,000 bars, restaurants and hotels as members, in renewal license fees for hotels, restaurants. Issuing an order.

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The Bombay High Court has granted relief to the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHAR), which has over 8,000 bars, restaurants and hotels as members, in renewal license fees for hotels, restaurants. Issuing an order. The high court has also directed the Maharashtra excise department to consider and expeditiously decide on the matter within a month.

The association had sought relief related to payment of license fees due to the closure of business due to the pandemic induced lockdown.

A bench of Justices S C Gupta and M S Karnik of the high court noted that the grievance of the association was because of the present Covid-19 pandemic and closure of businesses of members as a result of restrictions imposed by the state due to the pandemic.

“The petitioners’ members deserve remission or relief concerning licence fees to be paid for renewal of FL-III license held by them,” the bench said.

Similar petitions have been filed and interim reliefs have been granted by courts. “On payment of 50 per cent licence renewal fees, the existing licensees approaching the court were allowed to operate their respective businesses of service of liquor and beverages under their FL-III licence,” noted the court.

On June 23, the bench had granted similar interim reliefs to United Hospitality Association, an organisation consisting nearly 500 hotel and restaurant owners in Pune.

“There is nothing to distinguish the facts of the present petitioners’ case from the facts of those other cases,” the bench said while noting that the association had made a representation to the state on March 13 and June 12 seeking reliefs.
 
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“These representations in any case need to be decided by the respondents. In the meantime, the petitioners’ members deserve the same interim relief as was granted to the petitioners in other cases,” it added.

“Accordingly, the petitioners’ members are permitted to deposit 50 per cent of licence renewal fees with the respondent state. Against the deposit of such fees, the respondent is directed to consider and decide the petitioners’ June 12 representation as expeditiously as possible and preferably within four weeks.” the court further said.

The court will now hear the pleas on July 16.


The above news was originally posted on www.indiatoday.in

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