High Court issues notice to Raman Singh cabinet on PIL challenging Chattisgarh's new liquor policy
The State cabinet framed a new excise policy for the fiscal year 2017-18 deciding to hold no more auctions for liquor shop licenses, deciding to run the shops itself through a self-appointed corporati
RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the State government over a public interest litigation challenging the Raman Singh cabinet’s decision to amend the excise policy and sell liquor through a government administered corporation.
The division Bench of acting Chief Justice Pritinker Diwakar and Justice Sanjay Agrawal issued a notice to the excise department, urban administration and other departments concerned seeking replies within two weeks over the PIL filed by Mamta Sharma, an activist. The next hearing has been scheduled for March 21.
The State cabinet framed a new excise policy for the fiscal year 2017-18 deciding to hold no more auctions for liquor shop licenses, deciding to run the shops itself through a self-appointed corporation.
This was a violation of Article 47 of the Indian Constitution which states that it is the duty of the state government to improve public health and take care of social welfare, the PIL said.
“We object to the decision and challenged it in the high court. It’s the duty of the State not just to raise the level of nutrition, standard of living and improve public health but also endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks or drugs which are injurious to health”, the petitioner Mamta Sharma told New Indian Express.
Mamata Sharma was also the intervener petitioner for the ban on liquor outlets in all national highways which was directed by the Supreme Court in December last year.
Mamata Sharma and co-petitioners Indrajit Chabra and Sudheer Sisodia told the High court that the State has already issued an official circular to identify government lands to set up liquor outlets without formation of the Corporation, and requested the court to forbid the government from selling liquor.
The State government had earlier decided to bring an ordinance -- Chhattisgarh Excise (Amendment) Ordinance 2017, during the ongoing budget session of the Assembly to create a Corporation that will facilitate the sale of both foreign and Indian liquor through government outlets.