WITH PUNJAB giving a nod to exempt hotels, restaurants and bars on the highway from liquor restrictions, the UT Administration now may take legal opinion to know if they can adopt the amendment. Mostly Punjab Acts are adopted by the UT Administration and now with the amendments in the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, UT may have to seek opinion on that.
A senior officer on condition of anonymity said, “Although it’s a long-drawn procedure. After the Act is passed and Governor’s assent is received, it will be notified by Punjab Government. If UT plans to adopt it, it will require legal examination and thereafter it will go to Ministry of Home Affairs for approval.”
The Punjab Cabinet on Monday gave its nod to a proposal to amend Section 26-A of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914. As per the amendment, all ambiguities for serving of liquor at hotels, restaurants and clubs would be removed by adding provisions whereby it is made clear that no retail vend would be opened within 500 metres of the national and state highways, but these restrictions shall not apply to the hotels, restaurants and clubs situated on the national and state highways.
The latest development has offered a ray of hope for hotel owners in Chandigarh whose bars are shut. President of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association Ankit Gupta said, “Punjab has now set a precedent by going ahead with amendments. At least there would be no losses to many business establishments.”
Amrinder Pal Singh, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, said that now they were hopeful of businesses to be restored.
However, petitioner Harman Singh Sidhu said that he would challenge Punjab’s decision after receiving the requisite documents.