The extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” Justice M.S. Ramesh of the Madras High Court said.


TAMIL NADU
What’s wrong in unmarried couple staying in hotel room, asks HC


“The extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” Justice M.S. Ramesh of the Madras High Court said. File | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM
Mohamed Imranullah S.CHENNAI 07 DECEMBER 2019 00:44 ISTUPDATED: 07 DECEMBER 2019 00:45 IST


 
 
 
 
Court orders Collector to de-seal serviced apartment complex in Coimbatore
The Madras High Court has raised its eyebrows over revenue and police officials in Coimbatore city having sealed a serviced apartment complex, without any notice or a written order, after finding an unmarried couple staying together in one of the rooms and spotting some liquor bottles in another room.
Justice M.S. Ramesh said the extreme step of sealing the service apartment, run by a popular chain of budget hotels, appeared to have been taken following news spread on social media regarding the apartment complex being used for short stays by unmarried couples, and the terming of such an act to be immoral.
“When a specific question was put to the respondents (police and revenue officials) as to what could be the illegality in permitting unmarried couples to stay in the hotel rooms, the respondents had no answer. Apparently, there are no laws or regulations forbearing unmarried persons of opposite sex to occupy hotel rooms as guests.
“When a live-in relationship between two adults is not deemed to be an offence, terming the occupation of hotel room by an unmarried couple will not attract a criminal offence. While that being so, the extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” the judge ruled.
Liquor bottles
In so far as recovery of liquor bottles from one of the rooms was concerned, the judge pointed out that it was not the case of the officials that the management was supplying liquor to guests without a licence. On the other hand, the management claimed that the guests might have brought the bottles along with them at the time of check-in.
Finding force in the submission, the judge pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Liquor (Possession for Personal Consumption) Rules of 1996 permits every individual to possess 4.5 litres of Indian Made Foreign Spirits, 4.5 litres of foreign liquor, 7.8 litres of beer and nine litres of wine within the State at any given point of time.
“As such, consumption of liquor by the guests on the petitioner premises cannot also be termed as illegal. Above all, the entire episode of sealing the premises is in total violation of principles of natural justice. The petitioner was not put on notice and no explanation was called for with regard to the contemplated action of sealing the premises,” the judge said.
The officials ought to have called for an explanation from the management before taking any coercive step, especially when the alleged “immoral” activities in the apartment complex do not constitute any offence, Justice Ramesh said. He directed the Coimbatore Collector to de-seal the petitioner’s premises within two days of receiving the court order.The extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” Justice M.S. Ramesh of the Madras High Court said.
TAMIL NADU
What’s wrong in unmarried couple staying in hotel room, asks HC


“The extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” Justice M.S. Ramesh of the Madras High Court said. File | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM
Mohamed Imranullah S.CHENNAI 07 DECEMBER 2019 00:44 ISTUPDATED: 07 DECEMBER 2019 00:45 IST


 
 
 
 
Court orders Collector to de-seal serviced apartment complex in Coimbatore
The Madras High Court has raised its eyebrows over revenue and police officials in Coimbatore city having sealed a serviced apartment complex, without any notice or a written order, after finding an unmarried couple staying together in one of the rooms and spotting some liquor bottles in another room.
Justice M.S. Ramesh said the extreme step of sealing the service apartment, run by a popular chain of budget hotels, appeared to have been taken following news spread on social media regarding the apartment complex being used for short stays by unmarried couples, and the terming of such an act to be immoral.
“When a specific question was put to the respondents (police and revenue officials) as to what could be the illegality in permitting unmarried couples to stay in the hotel rooms, the respondents had no answer. Apparently, there are no laws or regulations forbearing unmarried persons of opposite sex to occupy hotel rooms as guests.
“When a live-in relationship between two adults is not deemed to be an offence, terming the occupation of hotel room by an unmarried couple will not attract a criminal offence. While that being so, the extreme step of sealing the premises, on the ground that an unmarried couple was occupying the premises, is totally illegal,” the judge ruled.
Liquor bottles
In so far as recovery of liquor bottles from one of the rooms was concerned, the judge pointed out that it was not the case of the officials that the management was supplying liquor to guests without a licence. On the other hand, the management claimed that the guests might have brought the bottles along with them at the time of check-in.
Finding force in the submission, the judge pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Liquor (Possession for Personal Consumption) Rules of 1996 permits every individual to possess 4.5 litres of Indian Made Foreign Spirits, 4.5 litres of foreign liquor, 7.8 litres of beer and nine litres of wine within the State at any given point of time.
“As such, consumption of liquor by the guests on the petitioner premises cannot also be termed as illegal. Above all, the entire episode of sealing the premises is in total violation of principles of natural justice. The petitioner was not put on notice and no explanation was called for with regard to the contemplated action of sealing the premises,” the judge said.
The officials ought to have called for an explanation from the management before taking any coercive step, especially when the alleged “immoral” activities in the apartment complex do not constitute any offence, Justice Ramesh said. He directed the Coimbatore Collector to de-seal the petitioner’s premises within two days of receiving the court order.

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