Bombay High Court Cancel the Order of Suspending the License of 47 Restaurants
Bombay High Court cancelled the suspension of license of 47 restaurants issued by the Maharashtra authorities. The license was cancelled, citing the reason of violating fire safety norms.
The high court said that proper procedure was not followed before issuing the order of suspension of license. The petitioners alleged that they have complied with provisions of fire safety and action was taken against only those restaurants in which waitresses were employed. The petitioners called it as moral policing by the officials.
The court suspended the orders given by the police commissioner and principal secretary of Maharashtra as no opportunity has been given to these establishments before passing the orders.
Justice Ranjit More, gave the ruling that chief fire officer can issue fresh notices to these establishments under section 5 of fire safety act, if he feels that the restaurants have not complied with the fire safety norms and the requirements sought in earlier notices of September 13, 2014 and take the necessary steps against them accordingly.
The judge said that the court is open to the Thane police commissioner to take action against these restaurants on fresh cause of action. The court observed that these establishments should be given an opportunity of hearing before taking any action. However, the court rejected the plea of Chief Fire Officer and Thane Municipal Corporation for issuing a stay on its order saying that, prima facie the hotels had complied with fire safety norms.
“Since I have come to the conclusion that the Petitioners (hotels) have made compliances of the requirements sought by the Fire Department vide its notice, it would not be appropriate to stay this order. Request for the stay is, therefore, not accepted,” said the judge.
The court observed that the procedure followed for suspending the licenses has not been properly followed by the Chief Fire Officer and instead the report was sent to Commissioner of Police and the commissioner invoked the powers under the rules and suspended the licenses of these 47 restaurants.
According to the rules, the licensing authority is authorized to cancel or suspend any license issued under the rules for flouting any of the provisions after hearing what the concerned parties have to say, the judge said.
Cancelling the licenses of the restaurants would affect the livelihood of hundreds of people working in these establishments and hence any action should be taken according to the rules and considering the future of these workers.