Restaurant Association approaches Bombay High Court
The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association has approached the Bombay High Court against food outlets operating “illegally” on food delivery apps like Swiggy. Zomato and Dunzo.
The plea filed under Section 226 of the constitution seeks instructions for registration of the FIR against the claims and to initiate a full investigation. As also with all organizations that have not obtained licenses under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, the plea calls for them to be discontinued until they fulfill all the conditions and licenses.
The apps are Bundl Technologies (Swiggy), Zomato Ltd, Dunzo Digital Pvt Ltd, Thirst Crow Marketing Services, Shadowfax Technologies Pvt Ltd, Lala Move and Sefast India Pvt Ltd (WeFast).
Several of these outlets sprung up during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the petition.
“The failure of Respondent 1 and other statutory authorities to take action against said illegally operating restaurants constitutes an abdication of statutory liability under the provisions of the MMC Act and other statutes. » the plea filed through attorney Aditya Chitale states.
According to the plea, the inaction of municipal authorities against such outlets creates an artificial distinction between two sets of similarly placed businesses. The former are those operating legally by having all required authorizations and licenses and restaurants operating illegally, the plea adds.
“These actions are struck under Section 14 and Section 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India. It is the responsibility of the statutory authorities to provide a level playing field for persons who are in an equal and/or comparable situation” according to the plea.
The petitioners state that although they have been forced to spend millions of euros investing in restaurants to obtain the required licenses, unlicensed outlets have failed to comply with these requirements.
“Furthermore, to rub salt in the wounds, said illegal restaurants spend negligible sums to set up and operate their establishment.”
He is seeking permission to issue a public notice to all unlicensed restaurants, food parcel kitchens, roadside food vendors and buildings to be prosecuted under Ordinance 1 Rule 8 of the CPC. Also, hold health officers in each municipal ward accountable for strict action according to law if restaurants are found to be operating without a license.