New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to Delhi government seeking its response on a batch of petitions challenging the levying of 70 percent "Special Corona Fees" on the maximum retail price (MRP) of liquor in the national capital.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to Delhi government and listed the matter for hearing on May 29. However, the bench refused to pass any interim orders.
Delhi government had, through a notification dated May 4, amended the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, levying a 'Special Corona Fee' on liquor in the national capital.
The court was hearing various petitions, including public interest litigation (PIL) filed by petitioner-in-person advocate Lalit Valecha, which sought setting aside the May 4 notification declaring it illegal and bad in law.
Valecha, through his plea, alleged that the unprecedented levy of special corona fee by the Delhi government resulting in the overall increase in the maximum retail price of liquor by 70 percent is arbitrary and uncalled for and bad in law.
"There is no justification or explanation of the sudden levying of the fee. The special corona fee was not done when liquor vends were allowed to operate initially and the move was taken after there were the reports of huge queues and violation of social distancing norms outside the vends," the PIL said.
The plea said that MRP of liquor in Delhi includes all the taxes and duties that have already been imposed by the Union and GNCTD for the purpose of production, transport, wholesale and retail sale of liquor.
It said that increasing the MRP by 70 percent by means of an executive order is illegal.
It alleged in the that a whopping 70 percent special corona fee is too much for the common man to bear especially when every person has been financially hit in the prevailing circumstances arising out of COVID-19.
Another petition, filed by one Praveen Gulati and three others through advocates Bharat Gupta and Varun Tyagi, sought quashing of the May 4 notification claiming that it is highly arbitrary, irrational and, therefore, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
It also sought directions to the government to refund the money collected under the notification dated May 4. (ANI)