The top court on Friday refused to stop the sale of liquor across India, asking the state governments to consider providing ‘home-delivery’ to the consumers desiring to buy alcohol. The court also exhorted the states to find ways to avoid crowding at liquor shops.
Hearing a PIL seeking a ban on the liquor sale citing rampant flouting of social distancing norms amidst coronavirus crisis, the Supreme Court refused to stay a ban on the liquor sale, urging state governments to contemplate on ways to ensure social distancing norms and using non-contact means like online sales or home delivery to reduce the large crowds swelling outside the liquor shops.
“We will not pass any order but states should consider home delivery or indirect sale of liquor to maintain social distancing,” a three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai said while hearing the case via video-conferencing to follow distancing norms.
Liquor shops that were shuttered nationwide on March 25 following PM Modi’s call for an extensive countrywide lockdown to battle the spread of coronavirus, were allowed to re-open this week, giving rise to serpentine queues of hundreds of people outside alcohol outlets in many cities in the country, brazenly disregarding social distancing norms.