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Liquor Sale Scope Opens

With the Apex Court observing that the State Governments to consider selling of liquor indirectly, scope for the Odisha Government to open such facilities has enlarged, feel experts.

The Supreme Court on 8 April, orally observed that the States must consider selling liquor via Home Delivery and/or inculcate indirect sales during the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) induced lockdown.

The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Bhusan Ramakrishna Gavai made this remark while hearing a petition challenging the opening of liquor shops by various State Governments.

The Apex Court observed that passing orders on the plea under Article 32 was not feasible.

The Bench said that the State Governments must effectuate Social Distancing while selling liquor by considering the other viable options.

"We will not pass any order. States should consider indirect sale or Home Delivery of liquor to maintain social distancing", said the Bench.

Petition was filed in the Apex Court after liquor shops were allowed to open, huge crowds were witnessed outside the sales counters.

Liquor shops shut down all over India after the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24 and were reopened on 4 May by several State Governments.

In fact several shops were forcibly closed as social distancing norms were not adhered to.

Experts say that online sales can be conducted and home delivery can be made by the sellers as Apex Court has suggested that the States must consider selling liquor though indirect sales.

Odisha, which is facing severe revenue shortfall is not opening the liquor shops, while other state Governments opened for generation of revenue.

Annually Excise Revenue from the State is around Rs.4600 Crore and the State is losing heavily due to closure of shops.

While Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allowed opening of liquor shops since 4 May, the State Government is yet to take a decision in this regard.

Not only the state is losing huge revenue due to closure of liquor shops, illegal liquor sales gets a boost, due to delay in opening liquor shops.
 
 


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