HC Seeks Delhi Govt’s Reply On Plea Against New Excise Policy
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the city government on a petition challenging the Delhi Excise Policy 2020-2021 and for issuing tenders for grant of 32 zonal licences for retail vends of liquor.
Hearing the petition filed by Readymade Plaza India Private Ltd, the court asked the Delhi government to submit its reply by August 9. However, the court refused to pass any interim order in the case.
The petition filed before the court argued that the new excise has completely eliminated existing retail vendors.
“Respondents divided Delhi in 32 zones, having 9-10 wards in each zone, for the purposes of issuance of liquor licence. Respondents have also introduced a new category of zonal licence – L-7Z, whereby holders of these licences shall run the retail vends. The scheme of the impugned Excise Policy is such that one L-7Z licence for each zone shall be granted and the licence holder has to mandatorily run 18 retail vends,” reads the petition.
The petitioner further argued that the policy will lead to a complete monopoly of the few.
“One of the conditions is that an entity can have a licence for two zones, which means effectively the entire Delhi shall come in the hands of big 15 entities. Thus, the object of the new policy is to encourage cartelisation instead of effective competition,” the petition further read.
Responding to this, the Delhi government said a stay on new excise policy would impact a revenue loss of Rs 3,500 crore.
“This amount of Rs 3,500 crore that will be collected through excise duty will enable the funding for several welfare schemes run by Delhi government. This would help many, who have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Chief Minister Office (CMO) said in a statement.
The Delhi government also claimed that the new excise policy was implemented only after due diligence by the government, and accepted by the liquor industry.
“The liquor lobby wants that the policy be quashed by the court, by hook or by crook,” the CMO added.