A single-judge bench consisting of Honorable Justice Battu Devananda gave orders on the Writ Petition no. 6769 of 2020. The Writ Petition has been filed by the Petitioner against the proceedings issued by the 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise), in which the 2B license bearing no. WG/3/2017-22/ Elluru Excise District was suspended.
In this case, the Petitioner is the holder of form 2B license issued to him by the 4th Respondent (Prohibition and Excise Superintendent) for sale of Indian made liquor and foreign liquor for the licensed premises. He was running the bar in the name and the style of Ms Sri Ganesh Restaurant and Bar. The 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) issued a show-cause notice alleging that the Petitioner had violated rules 24 and 32(2) of the Andhra Pradesh Excise Rules, 2017. Based on the confession by the third parties that the wine and liquor bottles were purchased from one wine shop for supplying it to the bar of the Petitioner. The Petitioner submitted the explanation to the 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) that he had not violated any of the rules of the Andhra Pradesh Excise Rules, 2017. The 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) conducted the proceedings without giving any chance to the Petitioner to explain himself and suspended the license of the Petitioner with immediate effect. Aggrieved by the actions of the 3rd (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) Respondent the Petitioner had filed a Writ Petition before the court seeking directions against the actions of the Respondents.
The learned counsel for the Petitioner submitted before the court that without considering the representations made by the Petitioner to the show cause notice, the orders were passed and the copies of the documents referred in the show cause notice were also not furnished to the Petitioner on repeated requests. Further, the Petitioner was not provided with any opportunity for a personal hearing and this is a violation of the Principle of Natural Justice.
The learned government pleader submitted before the court that the 5th Respondent (Station House Officer-cum-inspector) had seized one auto in the presence of mediators and found that 2 persons were sitting in the said auto. The auto had 300 liquor bottles and these were being transported without any permit or license or bills and were selling it at a higher price to outers which is an offence under the provisions of the A.P. Excise Act, 1968. During the investigation, those persons who were arrested confessed that they were transporting liquor to Sri Tatina Subba Rao, who was working in Ms Sri Ganesh Restaurant and Bar for benefiting themselves. The learned counsel further submitted before the court that the license was suspended after following the procedure and by following the procedure by issuing a show-cause notice. Therefore, the Writ Petition has no ground and is liable to be dismissed.
The court after hearing both sides is of the opinion that the 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) rejected the representation of the Petitioner without recording any specific reasons. The lower court rejected the application of the Petitioner on the grounds that it is not convinced and no satisfactory material has been placed on record that shall be enough for passing the order in favour of the Petitioner hereby impugned order in the present case. The opportunity for a personal hearing is also not provided to the Petitioner, plus they did not furnish the documents attached with the show cause notice even after specific requests made by him. It is clear that the impugned order has been passed in violation of the Principles of Natural Justice.
The Writ Petition is allowed and the impugned order of the Respondent is set aside. The matter is remanded back to the 3rd Respondent (Deputy Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) for passing a fresh order after giving an opportunity to the Petitioner. Any application pending shall stand closed and there are no orders as to cost.
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