VIJAYAWADA: The State government, which has deferred the draw of lots for allocation of new bar licences under the new Bar Policy from December 7 to 15, was directed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh to defer it till December 23.
During the hearing of a petition filed by owners of bars and restaurants in the State challenging the new Bar Policy and abrupt termination of their licences, in the High Court on Tuesday, Advocate General S Sriram informed that the government has decided to defer the draw of lots from December 7 to 15. The court instructed the AG to defer it till December 23 and adjourned the case hearing to December 18. The State government was asked to file a counter affidavit by December 10 and the counsel for the petitioners were asked to file the reply by December 16.
The counsel for petitioners argued that bars and restaurants in the State have valid licences till 2022 and abruptly cancelling it is a violation of the rights of the petitioners. It pointed out that people are consuming liquor more at retail liquor shops than at bars and the number of retail liquor shops was not reduced.
Chief Justice JK Maheswari questioned the rationality in controlling the bars, without reducing the number of retail liquor shops. He observed that the government wants to reduce bars, but at the same time it doesn’t want to lose revenue as evident from its decision to increase licence fee.