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HC asks Delhi govt to respond to pleas by private liquor retailers to extend licences till Nov 16

New Delhi, Sep 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Monday sought response of the Delhi government on two pleas by retail liquor vendors seeking to extend their licences in particular categories till November 16 in parity with other categories under the provisions of the Delhi Excise Act.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Amit Bansal issued notice and asked the Delhi government to respond on an application filed by Delhi Liquor Traders Association.

The association, represented through senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, sought parity with other licence holders who have been granted extension till November 16, while these private retailers have been told that their licences will not be renewed or extended beyond September 30, in view of the new Excise Policy of Delhi.

A similar petition was also filed by by one Rattan Singh and the court asked the authorities to respond to it.

The court listed both the pleas for further proceedings on September 24, when other batch of matters challenging the tender process and the new Excise Policy are coming up for hearing.

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The association, which claims to represent 143 licenced liquor traders in Delhi, has filed the present application in its pending petition in which it has contended that the New Excise Policy 2021 restores the ”Zamindari” system abolished by the Constitution and facilitates a monopolistic cartel.

The application said the Delhi government had issued an order on September 10 regarding the extension or renewal of retail licences till November 16 in category L-6 (retail vendors of Indian liquor or beer), L-6FG (retail vend of foreign liquor in public sector to the holder of license in form of L-6) and L-6FE (retail vend of foreign liquor in public sector) but the category of the petitioners have not been considered.

The office of the respondent has extended the period of licence of other similar retailers in Delhi which are being operated by government corporations, it said.

The petitioners, who are holding L 7 (retail vend of Indian Liquor in private sector) and L 10 (retail sale of Indian and foreign liquor) licences, sought direction to extend their licences also till November 16, in parity with other categories.

The plea said the petitioners have separately given their objections to the authorities requesting for extension of licences but no reply has been received.

“The notice dated September 10 stating not to extend/renew the applicant”s private retail licences beyond September 30 and to further liquidate the applicant”s stock accordingly is highly discriminatory, biased and arbitrary in nature as the notice is only applicable on the categories of L-7 L-l0 exclusively and not on other categories,” it said.

It further said that the notice is not in parity with the other retailers and is in violation of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution and in case the discrimination and disparity is not removed, it will amount to grave depravity and miscarriage of justice on the part of the authorities.

Several petitions challenging the new Excise Policy are pending before the court which had earlier refused to grant any stay. PTI SKV SKV RKS

The above news was originally posted on www.outlookindia.com

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