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Allahabad High Court dismisses PIL seeking home delivery of liquor

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The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a PIL, which sought direction to the Uttar Pradesh government to frame a policy for home delivery of liquor.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Subhash Chandra Sharma passed this order on August 4, while hearing a PIL filed by Gopal Krishna Pandey, a practising lawyer of the Court.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that certain State Governments have issued notification to allow the delivery of liquor online and thereby home delivery would be made. It was in pursuance of the observations made by the Supreme Court on the state to consider non-direct sale, including online/home delivery of liquor to avoid overcrowding and to maintain social distancing norms in terms of Covid-19 guidelines.

It is further submitted that Madras High Court has permitted the online sale of liquor.

The Chief Standing Counsel had opposed the petition and submitted that the prayer made is in reference to the policy decision and presently, the government is not inclined to allow online sale of liquor with home delivery.

He argued that the permission to sell liquor online by few states was in the era of Covid-19, when it was at its peak and to avoid overcrowding in the shops. There is nothing on record to show overcrowding on the shops in the state of Uttar Pradesh and now the peak of Covid-19 and its second phase has gone.

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“A reference of the judgment passed in the case of Kerala Bar Hotels Association vs State of Kerala and others 2015 (16) SCC 421 and in the case of Hip Bar Pvt. Ltd. Vs. State of Karnataka passed in Writ Petition No.6448 of 2019 (Excise) dated September 13, 2019 has been given in which similar prayer was declined. We have considered the rival submissions of the parties and perused the record,” the Court observed.

The Court said the petitioner has shown its concern to increase the revenue of the state and other aspects, which includes purchase of liquor even by those who may be shy in making purchases from the shop. The reasons given are not to avoid overcrowding or to maintain social distance to follow the Covid-19 protocol, rather it is for different reasons than observed by the apex court.

“In view of the above and finding the subject matter of the policy of the state, we are not inclined presently to allow online sale of liquor,” the Court said and dismissed the Writ Petition.

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