DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION OF MAHARASHTRA AND ORS. Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND ORS.
LAWS(BOM)-2017-7-386
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on July 25,2017

Distillers Association Of Maharashtra And Ors. Appellant
VERSUS
State of Maharashtra And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) Notice of Motion No.466 of 2017 is taken out by the Applicants/Petitioners (Distillers' Association of Maharashtra and ors.) seeking the following reliefs: (a) That pending the hearing and final disposal of the present Petition this Hon'ble Court be pleased to pass an order restraining the Respondent Nos. 1, 3 and 4, their agents, servants, officers, departments, etc. from in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, taking any step which would nullify, interfere with and/or override the effect and operation of the order dated 1st April 2016 passed by this Hon'ble Court in the present Writ Petition including but not limited to restraining themselves from issuing any order, direction, rules, notification, etc. in furtherance of the three impugned Notifications all dated 10th July 2017. (b) That in the alternative to the above, in case any order, direction, rules, notification, etc. in furtherance of the three impugned Notifications all dated 10th July 2017 is issued, this Hon'ble Court be pleased to pass an order directing the Respondent Nos. 1, 3 and 4, their agents, servants, officers, departments, etc. not to give effect to or implement the same till the final hearing and disposal of the present Petition; Notice of Motion No.460 of 2017 is taken out by the Applicants/Petitioners (All India Plastic Manufactures Association and Ors.) seeking the following reliefs: (a) that Respondent Nos.1 and 2 be ordered and directed to defer the finalisation of the Draft Rules proposed as an amendment to the (i) Maharashtra Distillation of Spirit and Manufacture of Potable Liquor (Amendment) Rules, 2017, (ii) Maharashtra Manufacturer of Beer and Wine (Amendment) Rules, 2017, and (iii) Maharashtra Country Liquor (Second Amendment) Rules, 2017, till the hearing and final disposal of the Writ Petition; (b) In the alternative to prayer clause (a), that the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 be ordered and directed to notify the amended Rules till the hearing and final disposal of the Petition. Notice of Motion No.471 of 2017 is taken out by the Applicants/Petitioners (Confederation of India Alcoholic Beverage Companies And Ors.) seeking the following reliefs: (a) pending the haring and final disposal of this Petition, the Respondents Nos. 1, 3 and 4, their respective servants, officers and/or agents be restrained and prohibited by an order of temporary injunction from in any manner (directly and/or indirectly): (i) proceeding with finalising of the draft rules proposed as an amendment to the Maharashtra Distillation of Spirit and Manufacture of Potable Liquor (Amendment) Rules, 2017; (ii) from notifying the draft rules proposed as an amendment to the Maharashtra Distillation of Spirit and Manufacture of Potable Liquor (Amendment) Rules. 2017; (b) pending the hearing and final disposal of the Petition, Respondents Nos.1, 3 and 4 be restrained and prohibited by temporary injunction from implementing, acting upon and/or in furtherance of the draft Rules proposed as an amendment to the Maharashtra Distillation of Spirit and Manufacture of Potable Liquor (Amendment) Rules, 2017 and/or otherwise proceeding against the Petitioners and/or their members on the basis of the said amended rules.
(2.) The Petitions are filed by the Petitioners challenging the Government Resolution dated 11-1-2016 of the Home Department, Government of Maharashtra and the Circular dated 1-2-2016 issued by the Commissioner of State Excise, which seek to prohibit the use of PET bottles and containers for storing alcoholic beverages and makes it compulsory to use only glass bottles. By an interim order dated 1 April 2016, this Court had restrained the Respondents from implementing the Government Resolution and the Circular. During the pendency of the Petitions and after the interim order was passed by this Court, the Respondent No.1 (State of Maharashtra through Home Department) and the Respondent No.3 (Dy.Secretary, Home Department) have issued the three impugned Notifications dated 10 July 2017 notifying the draft Rules to amend the following Rules under the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949: (i) Maharashtra Distillation of Spirit and Manufacture of Potable Liquor (Amendment) Rules, 2017, (ii) Maharashtra Country Liquor (Amendment) Rules, 2017, (iii) Maharashtra Manufacturer of Beer and Wine (Amendment) Rules, 2017. In the impugned Notifications the amendments proposed in the Rules are essentially on the same lines as the Government Resolution dated 1 January 2016 that the material used for the bottles and containers shall be only glass. The Notifications state that any objection or suggestions which may be received by the Principal Secretary, Home Department (State Excise) from any person with respect to the said amendment (draft) before the aforesaid date viz. 25 July 2017 will be considered by the Government.
(3.) Learned Senior Counsel for the Petitioners submitted the entire exercise is being carried out by the State Government to nullify the interim order passed by this Court in the Writ Petitions. In the submission of the learned Senior Counsel the said Notifications suffer from infirmities interalia relating to legislative competence of the State Government with respect to framing of any Rules under the provisions of Maharashtra Prohibition Act, when the field is occupied by Central legislations. It is submitted that the Petitioners apprehend that as soon as the last date i.e. 25 July 2017 for receiving objections is over the State Government will notify the Rules forthwith and bring them into force to present the Petitioners with fait accompli.;


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