July 12, 2021 7:51:44 pm
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Delhi government in a petition challenging the Delhi Excise Policy 2020-2021 and the notice inviting tender for grant of 32 zonal licences of retail vends of liquor.
The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the authorities to respond to the plea by August 9. However, the court refused to pass any interim order in the case.
Readymade Plaza India Private Limited, in the petition, argued that the latest policy has “completely eliminated” existing retail vendors. Submitting that they are shop-owners running retail liquor vends in Delhi for the past 15 years, the petition argues that the concept of zone is alien to the Excise Act.
“Respondents divided Delhi in 32 zones, having 9-10 wards in each zone, for the purposes of issuance of liquor licence. Respondents have also introduced a new category of zonal licence, L-7Z, whereby holders of these licences shall run the retail vends. The scheme of the impugned Excise Policy is such that one L-7Z licence for each zone shall be granted and licence holder has to mandatorily run 18 retail vends,” reads the petition.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing the petitioner, argued before the court that the policy will lead to a complete monopoly of the few.
The petition also argues since the minimum reserved price for one zone licence is around Rs 200 crore, existing retail vendors are completely out of competition. “One of the conditions is that an entity can have a licence for two zones, which means effectively the entire Delhi shall come in the hands of big 15 entities. Thus, object of the new policy is to encourage cartelisation instead of effective competition,” it adds.
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