The high court on Tuesday issued notices to MP government and the Gwalior excise commissioner in reply to a PIL that pleaded the quashing of the excise policy 2015-16 on the ground that it was against certain provisions of the MP Excise Act.
The PIL had pointed out that the state government did not set up two advisory committees, one for municipal and cantonment areas and the other for rural areas, as per the mandatory provisions mentioned in the MP Excise Act.
The advisory committees are empowered to carry out certain important functions like the locations where the liquor shops are to be operated, the number of shops to be opened and the opening and closing timings of these shops.
In the absence of advisory committees, there is no check on opening of illegal shops and permission is granted even in those places which are objectionable as per the norms, the petition read.
The PIL further sought direction to check the sale of spurious as well as illegally-manufactured liquor by way of grouping and cartel formation. The state government’s excise policy is against the directive principles of the state policy as it promotes the sale and consumption of liquor instead of discouraging it.
The policy not only promotes liquor sale but also promotes sale of adulterated liquor and formation of groups for sale, the PIL claimed.
The government notified the new policy 2015-16 on January 21, 2015, thereby permitting transfer/merger of country-made liquor shops with foreign liquor shops though both the categories of liquor are governed by separate rules meant for particular category.
Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch president PG Najpandey appeared before the court in connection with the petition. He told the court he had given representations to the authorities in the past for taking action against spurious liquor sale, but no action was taken.