THE BOMBAY High Court on Friday refused to set aside the BMC’s decision of May 22 that allowed online sale of liquor through home delivery. However, the BMC order had prohibited over-the-counter liquor sale in the city.
A division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Nitin R Borkar on Friday heard through videoconference, a plea filed by the Maharashtra Wine Merchants’ Association challenging BMC orders pertaining to liquor sale in the city and seeking relief of refund of proportionate amount of licence fee. The association sought a direction to permit over-the-counter retail liquor sale in the city.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on May 22 had allowed online sale of liquor through home delivery in the city from May 23. However, the service was to be allowed from 10 am to 6 pm. “Under no circumstances, over-the-counter sale of liquor can be permitted,” the order stated.
Advocate Chanderpal for the petitioner association contended that in Pune and Nashik, where an identical situation exists, over-the-counter liquor sale is permitted and there were no reasons as to why the same norms do not apply to Mumbai.
After hearing submissions, the bench noted that the BMC order dated May 22 does not permit over-the-counter sale of liquor and permits e-commerce platform to be utilised for delivery.
The High Court observed, “This decision (BMC order) is in the nature of policy. Such a decision entails evaluation of various competing factors. Situation may differ from place to place. The relevant factors can also undergo a change by passage of time.”
Observing this, the bench asked the petitioner organisation to approach the municipal commissioner and said he can make an appropriate decision on the demand for over-the-counter liquor sale.
Refusing relief to the petitioner association, the bench led by Justice Jamdar said it will hear the plea related to refund of licence fee in due course.
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