The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the petition by toddy sellers challenging a Government Resolution restricting them from conducting their business beyond certain areas.
As per the 2016 GR, the toddy sellers were allowed to tap trees only within the area for which licence had been issued and not from the nearby areas where they possess trees from which toddy is extracted. Besides, a specific condition has been imposed that the seller must have 1,000 toddy trees in the area to avail licences and not 500 trees as per previous rules.
As a result of non-fulfillment of these conditions, the petitioners are unable to get licences and therefore unable to carry out their businesses which in turn affected their livelihoods, their petition said. A division bench of V M Kanade and A S Gadkari was hearing the petition by about 12 toddy sellers who called the GR unjust and illegal.
Government pleader A Vagyani informed the court that there was large scale adulteration in the toddy and the GR came into effect after it was found that the amount of toddy being tapped and sold exceeded the expected yield from the trees.
Therefore. the issuing of licences was restricted and rules were strengthened in the interest of public health, he said. The court was also told that the toddy trade came under the provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act and therefore the GR was valid. Upholding the GR, the court held that the State had the powers to regulate toddy licences and dismissed the petition.