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Virus: Hear liquor shop owners plea on reopening, HC to Maha



The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Nagpur district collector and the Maharashtra government to hear and decide expeditiously representations made by liquor shop owners seeking permission to open their establishments in the city amid the lockdown for the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Justice R B Deo of HC''s Nagpur bench was hearing a petition filed by an association of wine merchants and liquor shop owners challenging an order passed by the Nagpur district collector prohibiting sale of liquor.

The petition, filed by the Maharashtra Wine Merchants Association, said liquor shops across the country have been allowed to operate while it is still not being permitted in Nagpur as the civic body has issued a notification imposing revised lockdown norms here on par with Mumbai and Pune regions.

The petition said the notification issued by Centre on May 2 permitted standalone shops and liquor shops to remain open, except in containment areas.

"However, on May 3, the Nagpur civic body issued a notification directing for a revised lockdown to be imposed in the city on par with Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune Metropolitan Region. Based on this, on May 4, the district collector and the state excise department issued an order restricting the sale of liquor within the city," the petition said.

The petitioner''s advocate, Shyam Dewani, on Friday informed the court that the state excise commissioner has permitted the opening of liquor shops, subject to enforcement of strict norms of social distancing.

Dewani sought permission to withdraw the petition and file representation before the state government and the Nagpur district collector.

The court permitted this and directed the petitioner to file the representation within a day and said the same shall be decided by the concerned authorities expeditiously and by May 12.

The petition had sought for the restriction order to be quashed and for a direction to allow the petitioner members to open their liquor shops.