The Himachal High Court has declined to stay the proceedings on the auction of liquor vends by the state government in Daulatpur in Una district. The government had allotted the vends by regrouping them with the aim of netting bigger revenues.
While dismissing the interim application, a division bench comprising justices Sanjay Karol and Dharma Chand Chaudhary observed that, prima facie, the state government had the right to regroup liquor vends in the interest of garnering more revenues for the state exchequer.
The court added a notice was issued to the petitioner, Sudarshan Puri, who had chosen not to participate in the allotment process. The court observed that, prima facie, merely submitting an renewal application did not confer any vested right on the petitioner for allotment of the vend.
Puri, who had challenged the state government's move to regroup the vends, contended he was allotted vend No. 24 in Daulatpur in 2013-14 and had applied for renewal of the licence for the vend as per the prevailing regulations. The petitioner alleged the government had regrouped the vends to benefit the respondent, Amit Gupta.
The government contended its decision to regroup the vends was taken to avoid losses to the state exchequer. It said vend No. 22 (Mandwara) did not receive any bids in renewal process as well as in the auction and hence remained unsold.
The government said in view of this situation it had decided to group vend Nos. 22, 23 and 24 for auction at a price of Rs 2.89 crore, which resulted in all three vends being sold at the prices fixed by the government.
The court, after hearing the parties, declined to grant an interim stay and fixed the date for further hearing in the case on May 13.