The Supreme Court on Friday said that states must consider home delivery options or the indirect sale of liquor during the countrywide lockdown so that norms of physical distancing are not broken, Live Law reported. The court, however, did not pass any order on the matter.
The observations were made on a petition challenging the decision of opening liquor shops. The petitioner’s lawyer, Deepak Sai, told the court that physical distancing was a big challenge in liquor vends, as there is a huge margin between the demand and supply of alcohol, which is “creating a nuisance” for “the common man”.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs must make clarifications in this regard, life of the common man must not get affected,” Sai told the court. The petition filed in “public interest”, sought the court’s direction to ban the sale of alcohol at liquor shops through direct contact, by declaring the Centre’s new Covid-19 guidelines for the lockdown as “unconstitutional, null and void”.
However, the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai said passing orders on the plea under Article 32 was “not feasible”.“We will not pass any order but states should consider home delivery or indirect sale of liquor to maintain physical distancing,” it observed.
Hundreds of people queued outside liquor shops across the country, ignoring all physical distancing norms, as they opened on Monday for the first time amid the lockdown. In Delhi, serpentine queues were seen outside shops, even as the government imposed 70% extra tax – dubbed “special corona fees” – on the sale alcohol.
India has recorded 3,390 new cases of the infection in the last 24 hours. As of Friday morning, the total number of cases in the country has risen to 56,342 and 1,886 patients have died.