THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Monday issued a notice to the Haryana government on a petition challenging the imposition of Covid cess on liquor sale in the state. A division bench of Justices Daya Chaudhary and Meenakshi I Mehta issued the notice to the state for July 10.
Senior Advocate Chetan Mittal and Advocate Vivek Singla, representing the petitioner Haryana Wines, argued that the imposition of the cess is not only without jurisdiction but also could not have been imposed on already allocated vends in March. The amendment to the Haryana excise policy in this regard has come midway and that too unilaterally, it was argued.
The Court was also told the levying of Covid cess takes place at the time of issuance of permit to the liquor vends, irrespective of sale of the liquor. The permit is required by a retailer for lifting the liquor from a wholesaler.
“Now the respondents (authorities) have started taking coercive steps in case the contractor does not deposit the Covid cess. It is further submitted that in case the contractor does not deposit the Covid cess, in the case, no permit is issued to the said contractor,” the petition states, while terming it to be an illegal and arbitrary decision.
The Haryana government, citing the Covid situation, last month had decided that the excise year will be treated from May 1-May 19, 2021, instead of April 1-March 31 and had accordingly amended the excise policy. It had also imposed Covid cess ranges from Rs 2-50 depending upon the type and quantity of liquor.
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