Jabalpur, The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government over liquor contractors’ plea, seeking revision of terms of contracts or recalling this year’s contract awarded to them.
The petitioners said the prolonged closure of shops due to the lockdown and curtailed business hours had caused them heavy losses and the government must make up for that.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice A.K. Mittal and Justice V.K. Shukla, sought the government’s reply in two weeks and set the next hearing for May 19.
According to the petitioners’ counsel, 30 people from different parts of the state have filed the plea seeking revision of terms and conditions of contract or recalling of the entire bidding process of liquor sale for this financial year, considering the market situation (economic slowdown) arising out of the pandemic.
The terms and conditions of the licence were based on normal market conditions, but the market situation had changed drastically due to Covid-19, the counsel said.
Under the clause 36 of the excise policy, the petitioners said they were allowed to run their liquor shops between 9.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. daily.
The new shortened hours, applicable from May 5, would breach the original terms of the contract, making it difficult for them to earn the revenue quoted in bids.
The excise policy permits the petitioners (liquor contractors) to run and operate shops, bars and ahatas (drinking area). But due to Covid-19, bars and drinking area would remain shut, making it hard to realise the licence fees paid every fortnight, the counsel said.