The Sindh High Court—SHC on Monday has denied giving permission to the eateries to operate their businesses-like regular days during the fasting hours in Ramazan. The eateries asked for the permit owing to their locations which are near bus stops and hospitals.
The Hyderabad circuit branch of SHC consisting of Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui denied the 262 same petitions asking for an exemption from the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance 1981.
The ordinance makes it a must to close all the restaurants, fast food chains, hotels, tea shops, and even small stalls during the fasting hours in Ramazan.
The bench indicated that Section V of the ordinance barred exemptions to only some eateries. These include a canteen or a kitchen in a hospital, a canteen or a stall within the premises of a railway station, a restaurant, seaport, airport, bus stand or aircraft and a kitchen or canteen in a primary school.
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The SHC orders read that since in all the petitions, the places pointed out do not fall within the exemption provided under Section V of the ordinance, hence, all the petitions are rejected.
The petitioners insisted that their eateries were present at bus stops. The court noted that the eateries had taken up the plea since their outlets were at the bus stops, they meet the exemption condition under Section V.
In Section V instead of bus stop the word bus stand is used which when read in full context does not refer to any roadside bus stop which a place is where buses stop for loading and alighting passengers during the transition between the terminals, the court said.
The bench also added that Section V permitted eateries to run within the premises of a bus stand which also suggests that the bus stops and layovers cannot be taken as stands.
In the same way, it is not enough to come under the condition of exemption that a canteen or restaurant or stall is present near some hospital.
The court ordered all the district and session judges and the deputy commissioners in the province to assure that no hotel or stall or tea shop run in any public areas during the fasting hours.
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