The Supreme Court Friday asked states to consider non-direct contact or online sales and home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period to prevent the spread of coronavirus on account of crowding at the shops. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B.R. Gavai, which took up the matter through video conferencing, disposed of the plea challenging the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 1, allowing sales of liquor through direct contact sales during the lockdown period.
The bench refused to pass any orders to this effect but suggested that it could be a better alternative than the chaos which has followed the government’s decision to open liquor shops during the lockdown.
As per the new guidelines, sale of liquor, paan, tobacco to be allowed after ensuring minimum six-feet social distancing; not over 5 persons
During the hearing, he argued that there are 70,000 liquor vends across the country and over five crore people have till now purchased liquor from these shops.
The Centre has allowed standalone alcohol shops to reopen under strict guidelines, but crowding at shops had made it difficult to maintain social distancing norms.
Though there has been a clamour for home delivery, many governments have been resisting the move.
The petition was filed by advocate Anindita Mitra and argued by advocate Sai Deepak. The advocate argued that there were too few liquor shops as compared to the demand for it and that this was making life miserable for the common man.