Plea in HC says New Excise Policy restores Zamindari system, Court asks Delhi govt to respond


PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 04-08-2021 14:05 IST | Created: 04-08-2021 13:39 IST
Plea in HC says New Excise Policy restores Zamindari system, Court asks Delhi govt to respond
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The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the AAP government to respond to a plea asserting that its New Excise Policy 2021 restores the 'Zamindari' system abolished by the Constitution and facilitates a monopolistic cartel.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on the challenge by the Delhi Liquor Traders Association, which claims to represent 143 licensed liquor traders in the national capital, along with two liquor license holders.

The court also sought a response from the Centre and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

Last month, the court had refused to issue notice on the petition after noting that the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and some unknown entities had been named as respondents.

Senior Advocate Arun Mohan told the court that an amended memo has been filed after deleting the parties.

In the petition filed through advocate Arvind Bhatt and Siddharth Sharma, the trade body has alleged that the New Excise Policy is unconstitutional and unworkable.

It said that although the traders do not have the fundamental right to trade in liquor, they have a right to complain against denial of continuation of existing license and killing competition.

"There are several other legal challenges as well, including the facilitating of the monopolistic cartel; while debarring the non-super-rich and thus killing all competition. In a way it seeks to restore the Zamindari system of the British era (for land revenue) and which was abolished once the Constitution came into force on 26.01.1950," the petition reads.

The petition also claims that under the policy, "crores collected, in effect, as taxes would not reach the consolidated fund".

The Association has sought a direction to declare that the sovereign right to collect taxes cannot be auctioned by way of the New Excise Policy and thus all consequential actions including the tender for granting zonal licenses are bad in law.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi with advocate Santosh Tripathi appeared for the Delhi government.

Several petitions are pending before the court against the New Excise Policy.

The court had, last month, refused to stay the new Excise Policy on the petition by Readymade Plaza India Pvt Ltd, a group of retail liquor vendors.

Delhi government has stated that its new Excise Policy 2021-22 is aimed at minimizing corruption and providing fair competition in the liquor trade and that all apprehensions against it were only fanciful.

The AAP government had said that there was a full-scale assault on it on the issue and that a reply would be filed to make its stand clear.

The petition will be heard next on August 9.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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