New Delhi: The Supreme Court has observed that states should consider home delivery of liquor as a better alternative to opening liquor vends to ensure social distancing during lockdown.
A three-judge bench, led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, was speaking during a hearing on a petition which had sought a ban on opening of liquor shops or direct sales to consumers during lockdown as it had made a mockery of the social distancing norms. The bench refused to pass any orders to this effect, but suggested that it could be a better alternative than the chaos which has followed the government decision to open liquor shops during the lockdown.
We will not pass any order, but states should consider home delivery or indirect sale of liquor to maintain social distancing, the bench said. Discussion on home delivery is going on. What do you want us to do? Justice Kaul asked. Liquor shops everywhere have seen unprecedented queues and stampedes which may trigger another round of social transmission of corona, a petition filed in the court had urged, seeking a court direction to the government to shut them down during the lockdown.
The bench refused to ban the sale of liquor during lockdown, but suggested that it was up to states to consider better alternatives such as indirect sales i.e. online sales and home delivery. Though there has been a clamour for home delivery, many governments have been resisting the move. The petition was filed by advocate Anindita Mitra and argued by advocate Sai Deepak. The advocate argued that there were too few liquor shops as compared to the demand for it and that this was making life miserable for the common man.
He sought a ban on all direct sales till the country was declared corona free. Various state governments had opened liquor shops to generate much needed revenue for the exchequer but had been forced to shut them down due to the crowds. They have since been reopened on May 4. Many states have since hiked the duties on the sales by as much as 70 per cent but that hasn’t deterred demand for it.