Amid A tussle between liquor contractors and Madhya Pradesh government, the High Court on Thursday asked the contractors to file affidavits, informing if they are willing to open their shops or the government can auction them afresh.
Giving the contractors three days to file affidavits, a division bench of Chief Justice A K Mittal and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla restrained the state government from taking coercive steps against the petitioners during pendency of the petition.
Liquor accounts for more than Rs 10,000 crore in the revenue of Madhya Pradesh. When the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 came into force, liquor licences were being issued in the state at nearly 25 per cent more fee than the previous year. In the wake of the lockdown, the licensees are now certain that they won’t be able to recover their investment.
When the cash-strapped government asked the licensees to reopen the shops with restrictions, a group of 30 licensees moved the high court. While the government said acceptance of tender bids meant the contractors were bound to abide by the terms, the petitioners argued otherwise.
In the last hearing, the court issued contempt notices to the government and the excise commissioner when petitioners said the government had started encashing bank guarantees, depositing post-dated cheques and issuing notices after giving an undertaking to the contrary.
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