Courts Update Delhi High Court issues notice to Delhi govt, Excise...

Delhi High Court issues notice to Delhi govt, Excise Commissioner on home delivery of liquor

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New Delhi Aug 10(ILNS): The Delhi High Court, on Monday, sought the stand of the Delhi Government and the Excise Commissioner in a fresh plea challenging the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, as it allows grant of licenses for home-delivery of liquor.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh while hearing the plea filed by the BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, issued a notice to the Delhi government and others and listed the matter for further hearing on September 20, 2021.

Filed through Advocates Balaji Srinivasan and Pallavi Sengupta, the plea challenges Rule 66(6) of the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, which has introduced a scheme of licensing for home-delivery of Indian and foreign-made liquors through mobile applications or websites. The 2021 Amendment Rules, dated May 25, 2021, which were notified by the Delhi Government on May 31, 2021, amended the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010. The plea alleges that the Rule is inconsistent with the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, which criminalizes the consumption of liquor in public places. It is further alleged that ‘home delivery’ of liquor would encourage increased alcohol consumption and would also lead to an increase in domestic violence cases against women, children, and vulnerable sections. In light of the above, the plea seeks to quash Rule 66(6) of the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021; and a direction calling for the records with respect to the said Rule.

The plea states, “The Rule violates a most critical national policy and is in complete disregard of Article 47 of the Constitution of India that casts a duty on the Respondent (Delhi Government) to improve public health by reducing the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious, dangerous, harmful to health.”

The Bench, on the last date of hearing, had refused to issue a notice in the petition for impleading the Aam Aadmi Party in the array of parties and thereby, granted time to Mr. Srinivasan to file an amended memo of parties. In a batch of similar petitions challenging the New Excise Policy formulated by the Delhi Government for the year 2021-2022, the Bench deferred hearing to August 27, 2021, as the response filed by the Delhi Government was not on record.

The petitions are filed by Ashiana Towers and Promoters Ltd. and Readymade Plaza India Pvt. Ltd, among others, claim to be retail liquor vendors running the business in Delhi since past more than fifteen years under valid licenses issued by the Excise Commissioner in terms of Delhi Excise Rules, 2010./ILNS/BG/KR/SNG

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