Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Goutam Bhaduri, JJ. addressed the petition along with the intervention application questioning the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited’s order to take steps for initiating preparations to operate liquor shops in the State.

Issue in the present matter is with regard to the constitution of a committee to take steps for initiating preparations to operate the liquor shops throughout the State of Chhattisgarh.

Petitioner and Intervenor’s counsel submitted that Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has not granted any relaxation allowing the State Government to operate the liquor shops during the lockdown period as notified by the National Disaster Management Authority on 24-03-2020 and by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Neither the State Government nor the Marketing Corporation had the authority to take steps to operate the liquor shops for the reason that no such relaxation for operation of liquor shops had been granted either by the National Disaster Management Authority or the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Court noted that,

State Government decided to extend ban on sale of liquor through retail shops/bar licence till 14.04.2020 when the lock-down notification issued by the Central Government remains in force. 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.

Bench disposed of the petition as well as as the intervention application while reserving the liberty in favour of the State government to take decision in the matter based on the proposed fresh lockdown notification to be issued by the NDMA or MHA, as the case may be. [Mamta Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 55, decided on 13-04-2020]

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