KOCHI: The court held that the petitioners were entitled to get their licences renewed.
It directed the State to receive the application for the renewal of licence, along with the licence fee, and to pass orders renewing the licences.
Golden Bar, Kodakara, Thrissur; Mercy Luxury Business Hotel, Ravipuram; and Hotel Orchid, Kadavanthra, were included in the list of the 418 non-standard hotels.
The petitioners submitted that they were entitled to get their licences renewed, and that the inclusion of their names in the list of non-standard bars was a mistake.
The State Government submitted that it had not taken any policy decision stipulating that the minimum standard of the hotels for granting FL3 licences should be ‘three-star’. The government had renewed the licences of the existing bars provisionally, except the 418 bars. Since licences of all the three-star hotels, which were functional as on March 30, were renewed the petitioners are also entitled to get renewal.
The State submitted that the hotels were included in the list, hence they are treated as unclassified hotels.
The court pointed out that the judgment by the Supreme Court in the Surendra Das case had stated that non-standard hotels are hotels below two-star classification.
“As it is an admitted fact that the hotels of the petitioners are having three-star classification, and as the government has decided to renew the licences of the other hotels, the non-renewal of the licences of the petitioners’ hotels was discriminatory and violated Article-14 of the Constitution. Therefore, they are entitled to get relief,” the court observed.
The court also granted relief to another six bar hotels - Sky Hotel-cum-Shopping Arcade, Thiruvalla, Pathanamthitta; Sagara Beach Resort, Kovalam; Hotel Green Palace, Pampakkuda, Muvattupuzha; KK Builders, Peravoor, Kannur; Kallada Hotels and Resorts, Mannuthy, Thrissur; and the Land Mark at Kaloor, Kochi. The hotels are not included in the list of the non-standard bars.
The court held that non-renewal of the licences of the petitioners’ hotels, after renewing all the licences granted on the basis of rules prior to December, 2011, amounted to discrimination.
As per the order, Hotel Presidency, a four-star hotel situated at Paramara Road in Kochi, will also get licence.
The court observed that the government order had clearly stated that it would not deny FL3 licence to hotels with four-star classification and above. Hence, the non-renewal of the licence of the petitioner’s hotel was illegal and against the existing rules.