The Bombay High Court refused to quash the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC) order prohibiting over-the-counter sale of liquor in the city, stating that it was the civic body’s policy decision to do so amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court on Friday (May 30) refused to quash a notification issued by the civic body on May 22, prohibiting over-the-counter sale of liquor and permitting the use of e-commerce platforms for home delivery of alcohol.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and N R Borkar was hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra Wine Merchants Association seeking a direction to the state government to permit sale of liquor at wine shops in Mumbai, which is a COVID-19 red zone.
The petition contended that in cities like Pune and Nashik, where the COVID-19 situation was similar to Mumbai, regular counter sale of retail liquor was being permitted. The associations advocate Charanjeet Chanderpal argued that the system of online orders and home delivery of liquor was fraught with difficulties and could have an adverse social impact and was also not safe.
The bench, however, said it would be appropriate for the petition to be placed before the city municipal commissioner as a representation. The municipal commissioner will be able to take an appropriate decision after considering all the factors, the court said.
“This decision is in the nature of policy. Such a decision entails evaluation of various competing factors. The situation may differ from place to place. The relevant factors can also undergo a change with passage of time,” the court said.