States Should Consider Home Delivery Of Liquor During Lockdown: SC

Long queues, as long as a KM in some areas, were seen outside liquor stores across the country after the Centre announced relaxations from May 4.

In what could be a relief to people craving alcohol, the Supreme Court Friday mentioned that states should consider online sales and home delivery of liquor to ensure that the social distancing norms are not violated.

This came from a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and B R Gavai while hearing a petition by Guruswamy Nataraj.

The plea filed through Advocate Anindita Mitra sought a direction from the court stating the new guidelines dated May 01, 2020, by the Centre as unconstitutional, null and void, “to the extent they permit the sale of alcoholic liquors for human consumption at liquor vends/shops through direct contact sales during the lockdown period”.

Advocate Sai Deepak, appearing for the petitioner, said the number of liquor vendors is less compared to the demand and as a result, there is pushing at the outlets with social distancing norms being defied.

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The government is attempting to open overall of economic activity in the third phase of the lockdown and the sale of alcohol is part of the plan and is anticipated to make states much-needed revenue. Liquor is one of the most significant sources of revenue for most states. In most states, the revenue share of liquor is between 25-40%.

So far, West Bengal, Punjab and Chhattisgarh are the three states which have allowed home delivery of alcohol with an aim to dodge large gatherings at standalone shops.

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