The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday directed the excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab, to take a decision on resolutions of 60-odd gram panchayats of the state seeking ban on the closure of liquor vends in their areas of jurisdiction.
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL), a division bench of the high court told the excise and taxation commissioner to pass an order “in letter and spirit” and communicate it to the gram panchayats concerned well before February 28, as the state government intended to auction liquor vends in the second or third week of March.
Earlier, the state government informed the HC that the said officer would hear the gram panchayats concerned and pass appropriate orders on all such resolutions before February 28, further stating that the allotment of liquor vends for 2015-16 was likely to be done in March.
The PIL, filed by the Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum, Sangrur, through its counsel, HC Arora, had sought directions to the commissioner to pass an order on the resolutions at the earliest.
The petitioner had submitted that the commissioner had been delaying the passing of any order on such resolutions in the past and would decide on resolutions only after the auction of vends, due to which most of such resolutions would be rejected by him on the pretext that the closure of liquor vends would cause loss of revenue to the state government.