New Delhi [India], March 15 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice on petitions moved by liquor vendors challenging the single judge bench order dismissing the applications seeking a stay of the Excise Commissioner order prohibiting a discount on the price of liquor in the national capital.
The division bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Neena Bansal Krishna issued the notice to the Delhi Government which was accepted by Counsel for the Delhi government. The bench listed the petition for hearing on Monday.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi's counsel appearing for the petitioner argued that the order issued by the Excise Commissioner was arbitrary as he has no power to issue such an order amending the policy. He has no power to change the policy but to implement it.
He further argued that the vendors have a right to give discounts according to the new excise policy and the government can't change the rule when the order has been initiated. "It started in November. If you want to change the rules, then return my licence fee. Two weeks have gone since the order passed. Sell is 50 per cent down", he added.
Justice V Kameswar Rao dismissed the applications and observed, "This Court is of the view that the prayer as made for by the petitioners in these applications cannot be granted. The respondents are granted time to file detailed counter-affidavits to the writ petitions within one week. Rejoinder within one week thereafter. The applications are dismissed. The aforesaid is only a prima facie view."
Justice Rao had further observed, "I agree with the submission of Dr Singhvi inasmuch as any stay of the impugned order shall lead to the distortions in the market and the subsequent consequences."
The petitioners had moved applications through Advocate Sanjay Abbot challenging the order of February 28, 2022, issued by Commissioner (Excise) of the Department of Excise, Entertainment and Luxury Tax, Government of Delhi.
The said order had directed that the L7Z licensees shall not give concession, rebate or discount on the Maximum Retail Price ( MRP) of liquor and to strictly abide by Rule 54(3) of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010.
Senior Counsels Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rahul Mehra appeared for Delhi government had justified the said order issued by the Commissioner (Excise) in the exercise of his power and function under Section 4 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 which empowers the Commissioner to regulate, control and monitor the manufacture, possession, import, export, transport, sale and consumption of liquor and other intoxicants. He has the power to ensure social wellbeing through education and promote responsible drinking.
In the month of February 2022, some of the retail L7Z licensees started giving huge discounts or offers on the MRP of liquor including 'buy one get one' and 'buy one get two' etc, further argued counsel for the Delhi Government. (ANI)