Hotel challenges closure order

Allegations are very serious: High Court

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The financial controller of The Park hotel has challenged in the Madras High Court, an order of the Greater Chennai Police Commissioner, suspending its licence for 90 days. The Police Commissioner on Wednesday suspended the licence on charges of violation of permit conditions.

Justice D. Murugesan, who heard the petition filed by G.S. Rastogi, financial controller, on Thursday, directed The Park hotel not to admit any fresh guests till the petition was disposed of. The court said the allegations against the hotel were "very serious in nature." Justice Murugesan, however, said the 210 guests who were already staying in the hotel should not be evicted till October 1.

`Arbitrary, Illegal'

Assailing the order, the petitioner said it was passed on the basis of newspaper reports. It was arbitrary, illegal" and passed without application of mind. Mr. Justice Murugesan said: "The publication in the newspaper with regard to the incident cannot be lightly viewed.

For the prima facie consideration, newspaper reports can be taken note of by the Commissioner of Police for suspending the licence." However, considering the fact that the hotel had 210 guests, "there will be an interim stay only in respect of the guests and they should not be forced to vacate till October 1." The Judge further said: "The Park hotel shall not carry on any activities on the strength of the bar licence. In my considered view, since the allegations are very serious in nature, it will be only proper for the Court to direct the hotel not to allow any fresh guests till the writ petition is heard and disposed of."

Mr. Rastogi said the impugned order passed under Section 76 (1) (A) of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act was illegal as the guests for the `Club Fashion Night,' organised by the hotel in association with a music channel, was by invitation and the guests had come in their best dress.

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