Oral Judgment: (Common)
1. Rule made returnable forthwith.
Heard finally by consent of learned counsels appearing for the parties.
2. By impugned order dated 08.08.2016, CLIII license possessed by the petitioners has been cancelled in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 54 (1)(c) of the Bombay Prohibition Act. In the order impugned, certain reports have been relied upon, which undisputedly were not supplied to the petitioners. It is merely on the basis of data reflected in paragraph (3) of the order impugned about the increase in sale of country liquor within a span of one year that the inference has been drawn about the possibility of illegal sale of liquor in prohibited Chandrapur District. The existence of an alternate remedy of preferring an appeal under Section 137 of the Bombay Prohibition Act in such a case not be of much consequence.
3. The learned AGP appearing on behalf of respondents states that all the documents relied upon in the order impugned for taking action of cancellation of license shall be supplied to the petitioners and thereafter granting an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners, an appropriate order shall be passed.
4. In the result, the writ petitions are allowed. The order dated 08.08.2016 impugned in all the petitions is hereby quashed and set aside. The petitioners to appear before the respondent-Collector on 17.10.2016, on which date the petitioners shall be supplied with the documents which are referred to in the order impugned. The petitioners shall be permitted to file their replies within a period of one month thereafter. The Collector shall after granting hearing to the petitioners shall pass appropriate order in accordance with law.
It is made clear that this Court has not at all gone into the merits of the controversy involved in the matter. There is no basis for the apprehension of the petitioners that the respondent Authorities shall stop the business of the petitioners until fresh order is passed.
Rule is made absolute in above terms. No orders as to costs.