Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of R. D. Dhanuka and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ. asked State Government to actions against the dealers and e-commerce websites for supplying various nonessential items in violation of government order.

The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association had pointed out before the Court that though various incentives were offered to hawkers and others during the pandemic crises by the State Government, no such packages had been announced for the retail traders. The petitioner had made a separate representation to the Municipal Corporation for waiver of various taxes and for various exemptions but the Municipal Corporation had informed the petitioner 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. Regarding waiving of licence fees for sign board licence for name board (non commercial), the petitioner was informed that no directives had been received from competent authority by the Superintendent of Licences, Municipal Corporation and thus the same could not be considered.

One of the major grievances of the petitioner was that though under various SOPs issued by the State including last SOP dated 13-04-2021 and more particularly in clause 16, E-commerce is permitted only for supply of essential goods and services, yet various suppliers are supplying non-essential services in gross violation of the said SOP. It was the case of the petitioner that though this violation was brought to the notice of the State Government, no action has been taken till date to stop the ongoing violation.

In the light of the above, the Bench directed State Government to file affidavit within two weeks to indicate as to whether any incentives which were offered to the hawkers due to their sufferings during pandemic can be offered to the retail traders. The State Government was also asked to indicate the steps already taken or would be taken against the dealers for supplying various nonessential items in violation of clause 16 of the SOP. The Bench told the State to take immediate actions against such dealers to stop the same. Lastly, Municipal Corporation was directed to file an affidavit to indicate the steps taken by it and proposed to be taken regarding waiver of licence fees and for other exemptions/concessions sought by the members of the petitioner association within two weeks.

[Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 748, order dated 25-05-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together .

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Jamshed Mistri a/w. Dipesh Siroya
Counsel for the Respondents: AGP Jyoti Chavan, Sr. Adv. Anil Sakhare a/w Pooja Yadav i/b.
Aruna Savla

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