HYDERABAD: In a significant order that will have an impact on both AP and TS, a division bench of Hyderabad High Court on Thursday made it clear that no liquor shops or bars can be permitted in Scheduled Areas without the consent of the Gram Sabha concerned.While dealing with an appeal filed by P Ratnam from Warangal, the bench directed TS excise department not to grant license to establish retail liquor outlets and bars in the Scheduled Areas without the consent of the Gram Sabha. The bench disapproved the concept of ‘deemed’ consent coined by excise officers.
Earlier, Ratnam filed a writ petition before the HC challenging the notification issued by the superintendent of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district inviting applications to set up retail liquor outlets in 17 tribal villages situated in the Scheduled Area of the district. He contended that the rules mandate to provide prior intimation to each gram sabha and then based upon the resolution license has to be issued. However, issue of unilateral notification was bad in law, he argued.
The counsel for appellant told the bench that the authorities have so far not issued any notification in the tribal villages to conduct gram sabhas. Rule 8 of PESA Rules mandates for conducting gram sabha and a license can be issued only if a resolution was passed for having liquor outlet in the village, he noted. After hearing the case and perusing the material on record, the bench said that the ‘deemed’ clause falls foul of the PESA Rules. The bench said there cannot be a deemed consent and decision of the gram sabha is final. No liquor outlet can be set up without explicit resolution from gram sabha accepting such proposal from the excise department, bench noted.