The Maharashtra government on Tuesday gave its approval to allow home delivery of alcohol in the state during the lockdown.
Days after long queues outside liquor shops raised an alarm, leading to a shutdown of such stores in Mumbai, the Uddhav Thackeray government invoked a special provision (Section 139) of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949, to order the excise commissioner to provide the home delivery option.
The order was needed since home delivery of liquor is not legal under normal circumstances in the state, with the Act itself containing provisions that disallow soliciting the use of liquor and banning advertising or publishing leaflets related to it. Under Section 139, the government has the “power to issue instructions in any matter pertaining to the grant of licenses, permits, passes or authorisations under the Act as it deems proper”.
Principal Secretary (Excise) Valsa Nair-Singh said the home delivery option was being offered to ease overcrowding and ensure social distancing.
Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap said that plans were to initiate home deliveries from May 14. Late Tuesday, the commissionerate finalised guidelines for the move’s implementation. For the time being, the government has permitted only neighbourhood stores to carry out home deliveries.
“The option of permitting tie-ups with e-commerce operators is also being explored,”
Nair said. The government said it is also looking into the issue of providing online drinking permits as many customers are yet to obtain the same.
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