The Chhattisgarh High Court has quashed an order of the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited which constituted a committee to take steps for initiating preparations to operate liquor shops throughout the State, during lockdown.
The impugned order was passed by the Corporation in the backdrop of a notification issued by the state government on March 31, prohibiting operation of liquor shops/bar in the State till April 7.
The order was challenged on the ground that the Government of India had not granted any relaxation allowing the State Government to operate the liquor shops during the lock-down period. Therefore, neither the State Government nor the Marketing Corporation had the authority to take steps to operate the liquor shops.
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During the course of hearing, the Corporation submitted that the impugned order was passed in contemplation of an order by the State Government allowing operation of liquor shops after April 7.
The bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Goutam Bhaduri however noted that the state government of Chhattisgarh had extended the ban on sale of liquor through retail shops/bar licence till April 14, in view of Center's lockdown notification.
It thus held,
"If the Marketing Corporation's order dated 02.04.2020 was in contemplation of an order by the State Government allowing operation of liquor shops after 07.04.2020, the same having not happened, the Corporation's order dated 02.04.2020 cannot be allowed to remain intact. Therefore, it deserves to be and is hereby quashed."
The bench has however granted liberty in favour of the State Government to take decision in the matter based on the proposed fresh lockdown notification that may be issued by the Central government under the National Disaster Management Act, after April 14.
Case Title: Mamta Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 1026/2020
Quorum: Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Goutam Bhaduri
Appearance: Advocate Rohit Sharma (for Petitioner); Advocate General SC Verma with Additional Advocate General VR Tiwari and Deputy Advocate General Chandresh Shrivastava, Advocate Rajeev Shrivastava (for Respondents); Advocate Prateek Sharma (For Intervenor)
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