Following the national lockdown announced on 25.03.2020 in dint of the widespread outbreak of Covid-19 across the country, the High Court of Chhattisgarh quashed an order dated 02.04.2020 passed by the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited. The said Corporation’s order referred to the constitution of a committee for the purpose of operating liquor shops across the state.
The present order passed by the Chhattisgarh High Court was passed in response to a Petition filed by Ms. Mamta Sharma and an intervention application preferred by Prathmesh Mishra in suo moto Writ Petition (PIL) No. 27 of 2020.
It was argued by Rohit Sharma, counsel for the Petitioner and Prateek Sharma, counsel for the Intervenor that the Government of India had no where permitted the State government to continue the operation of liquor shops. The respective Counsels referred to the notification passed by the National Disaster Management Authority and Ministry of Home Affairs on 24.03.2020 which declared a lockdown for a period of 21 days coming into force from 25.03.2020.
The Respondent submitted that since the notification passed by the National Disaster Management Authority and Ministry of Home Affairs was valid until 07.04.2020, they started preparations from 02.04.2020 in order to commence the operations of liquor shops after 07.04.2020.
However, it was held that the order by the State Marketing Corporation dated 02.04.2020 shall not be applicable on account of the State Government’s order passed on 07.04.2020 that extended the ban on sale of liquor through retail shops/bars until 14.04.2020.
The Bench comprising of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Goutam Bhaduri thus quashed the order dated 02.04.2020 passed by the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited and thereby granted liberty in favour of the State Government to decide in the said matter on the basis of the fresh lockdown proposed.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India has crossed 9,000 claiming more than 300 lives nationwide. According to the latest Health Ministry update, 30 deaths have already been reported in the last 24 hours in India.