The Delhi High Court disposes of the plea by liquor traders seeking direction to the Delhi Government to make the New Excise Policy for the year 2021-22 available in public domain.
The single Bench led by Justice Rekha Palli was informed by Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, senior counsel for the Delhi Government, that the New Excise Policy for 2021-22 will be put on the government website by the end of the day.
The Bench noted: “Keeping in view the fact that the last date for submission of the bids is 12th July, 2021, no orders are called for in the present petition, which is accordingly disposed of by binding the respondent to their aforesaid statement.”
The Delhi Liquor Traders Association was represented by senior counsel Dr. Arun Mohan, who contended that as the said policy has not been made public, the petitioner association is not in a position to submit the bid in respect of the e-tender floated by the Delhi Government.
On a query raised by the Bench as to why the government is not showing its policy, Dr. Singhvi submitted that he has instructions to state that the said excise policy will be put on the website within the next 3-4 hours. He, however, raised objection on the maintainability of the petition as there is no reason as to why the petitioner cannot bid for the tender in accordance with the terms of the tender issued on June 28’ 2021, which clearly sets out the rules for bidding. “Tender is decided by rules, not by policy,” he stated.
The plea has been filed by Delhi Liquor Traders Association through Advocate Siddharth Sharma. The plea seeks the New Excise Policy for 2021-2022, approved in June this year, be made public by the Government. The plea avers that on June 28’2021, the Delhi Government floated a tender, inviting e-bids for grant of 32 zonal retail licenses for the year 2021-22 through e-tendering process in the form of L-7Z/L-7V for sale of Indian and Foreign Liquor in the region of NCT of Delhi, on the basis of the newly approved policy. The plea contends that despite publicly floating the tender on the basis of the approved policy, the Delhi Government is yet to make the New Excise Policy public or available over the internet or over the Government’s website. Furthermore, the plea contends that as per the schedule of the tender, the last date notified for pre-bid queries is July 5’ 2021, while the pre-bid meeting is scheduled to be held on July 6’ 2021 and the submission of the e-bid will take place between 12th to 20th July, 2021. In this regard, the plea avers that the New Excise Policy for the year 2021-22 be made available to all prospective shareholders or to the public in general, in order to enable the bidders to prepare financially viable and attractive e-bids for the tender.