MUMBAI: It is imperative for educational institutions to instil in students strong moral values to face tough challenges in life, observed the Bombay high court while rejecting a petition challenging the transfer of a liquor licence to a restaurant in the vicinity of a school in Junnar in Pune district.
“...The petitioners ought not to have formed such an opinion that the education imparted by their institution was so fragile that students would get easily influenced by a restaurant serving liquor in the vicinity,” said Justice Girish Kulkarni in his verdict on Tuesday.
Three social workers who run schools and hostels for tribal students had moved the HC. The case began when the owner of Hotel Moonlight in Padali Barav village applied to transfer his liquor licence to another premises in the urban area of Junnar. After objections from the petitioners, residents, the Shirur MP and other MLAs, the collector in November 2019 rejected the application, citing the school. Justice Kulkarni said the collector’s reasons were given under “apparent political pressure brought on him”.
The collector’s comments on the inquiry officer’s March 2019 report said the school’s main entrance was 450m from the restaurant. In August 2019, a new gate was found, northwest of the compound wall, at a distance of 144m and aerially 95m.
Under the Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, a distance of 75m has to be maintained by an establishment from an educational or religious institution. Moreover, another hotel had been operating for over a decade at a distance of 375m with similar licence and the school had not objected.