25 May 2021 2:35 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court has asked the State to take immediate action against e-commerce dealers supplying non-essential items during the lockdown despite the Maharashtra Government's clear orders against it. A vacation bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Madhav Jamdar also sought to know the State's steps against such errant dealers, till now. On Monday, the court heard a petition...
The Bombay High Court has asked the State to take immediate action against e-commerce dealers supplying non-essential items during the lockdown despite the Maharashtra Government's clear orders against it.
A vacation bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Madhav Jamdar also sought to know the State's steps against such errant dealers, till now.
On Monday, the court heard a petition by the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association seeking action against e-commerce dealers violating lockdown norms and waiver of property tax, renewal fees, all license fees, etc., for the entire lockdown period from March 23, 2020, till the lockdown continues.
In the plea filed through advocate Dipesh Siroya, the federation cited heavy losses, financial instability and mass unemployment faced by the retailers dealing in non-essential items as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. There are 13 lakh retailers with 45 lakh employees, the plea notes.
During Tuesday's hearing, the petitioner's counsel Jamshed Mistry submitted that though various incentives are offered to hawkers and others during the pandemic crises by the State Government, no such package has been announced for the retail traders. They also pointed out a separate representation to the Municipal Corporation to waiver various taxes and various exemptions.
"By a letter dated 6th May 2021, the Municipal Corporation informed the Federation that the proposal for cancellation of licences issued under section 313(1) (b) (c) had been submitted to the Legal Department for their opinion, and the same is awaited," the bench noted in its order.
The corporation refused to consider the federation's request regarding waving of the license fee for the name board (non-commercial), stating that no directives have been received from competent authority by the Superintendent of Licences, the bench noted.
Senior Advocate Anil Sakhare for the BMC and State's counsel Jyoti Chavan both sought time to take instructions.
The court directed the State to file an affidavit within two weeks and indicate whether any incentives offered to the hawkers due to their sufferings during pandemic can be offered to the retail traders.
It also asked the Municipal Corporation to file an affidavit indicating steps taken and proposed to be taken by them pursuant to the representation by the petitioner regarding waiver of licence fees and for other exemptions/concessions sought by the members of the petitioner association.
"The State Government will also indicate the steps already taken or would be taken against those dealers, for supplying various nonessential items in violation of clause 16 of the SOP dated 13th April, 2021, if any. We direct that if the State Government finds any such violation, an action shall be immediately taken against those dealers and to stop such violation," the court said in its order.
[Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association vs State of Maha & others]
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