Mangaluru, Sep 19, 2019: After the Excise minister H Nagesh created a controversy with his statement on door-delivery of liquor and subsequently retracting it, the Karnataka High Court on September 18, Wednesday outright rejected such sale of liquor including online booking, transportation, sale and other associated activities.
The court expressed its displeasure while dismissing a petition filed by a private firm - Chennai HIP Bar Private Ltd - seeking permission through Letter of Agreement (LoA) on August 1, 2017 issued by the state government. The LoA had permitted the firm to carry on food business relating to ready-to-eat savories, beverages excluding dairy products. The permission also included online order processing and delivery of Indian and Foreign liquor comprising beer, wine and low alcoholic beverages.
The Excise commissioner withdrew the LoA on November 15, 2018 issued to the petitioner’s Bengaluru branch without any prior intimation. The petitioner thereafter challenged it before the High Court. In fact, senior counsel P Chidambaram had appeared and argued on behalf of the petitioner contending “withdrawing LoA without issuing show-cause notice is against the principles of natural justice. Neither the sale of liquor is totally prohibited nor does the monopoly taken by the state government’’.
Representing the state government, then the advocate general Uday Holla had argued that state had not violated any fundamental rights but it was merely following the rules under the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965.
Single judge Justice S Sujatha passed an order last week, a copy of which was uploaded on Wednesday. “the petitioner is not entitled to carry on business of online order processing and delivery of liquor to the consumers in the absence of enabling provision available under the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965, to grant license or permission,” the order prescribed.