– September 17, 2021 11:13 a.m.
The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court dismissed the Liquor Vendor’s lawsuit calling for a waiver of the annual guarantee fee and tax breaks for the second wave of Covid.
Up to 120 petitions have been filed alleging that the licensed stores have remained virtually closed for more than 395 hours out of 680 due to the various lock-down regulations. It states that stores were closed 64.28% of the time in April and May 2021 and 67.74% of the time in June 2021. It is further alleged that opening liquor stores from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. was completely impractical as there was no liquor sales at all in the morning hours and sales were reduced immensely.
Mr. RN Mathur, Senior Advocate, stated that the criteria should be appropriate and related to the intended purpose. The reduction or reduction of the annual guarantee amount by only 30% envisaged by the respondents is completely impracticable and does not take the aforementioned circumstances into account. While the minimum price for business bidding is localized, a 30% discount is generalized to all businesses in Rajasthan. Therefore, the benefit should be by district. The experienced senior counsel went on to say that the standard adopted was careless and that fixing the opening hours of liquor stores from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. five days a week was completely unrealistic and unreasonable. It is claimed that no one comes into stores to shop in the early hours of the morning, and in such circumstances the state should compensate traders proportionally according to the lockdown and the spirits actually canceled should be the criterion for payment a first quarter of the annual guarantee amount and the annual guarantee amount should be reduced accordingly, instead of continuing to insist on payment based on the offer of payment previously made by the petitioners.
Mr KK Sharma learned that Senior Counsel had submitted that while the petitioners had submitted their offers during the 2020-21 Covid pandemic, no one could imagine setting the pandemic until March 2021, force majeure and arbitrary persistent action by the State. In the event of a reduction in sales of up to 69.62%, the demand for continued payment of the amount for which the spirits were not sifted or sold is completely unjustified.
Judge Sanjeev Prakash Sharma’s sole bank said the loss inflicted on them cannot be put on the shoulders of the government as their eyes open to bid higher and accepted the terms of the policy. You cannot turn back now and assert mandamus against the state in this court.
“However, the Court considers it appropriate to point out that the granting of discounts on payments is at the sole discretion of the state and is the responsibility of the state government, which has established excise tax policy. It is therefore best for the state government to decide whether the spirits sellers need to be granted a further reduction / discount. It remains open to the petitioners to represent their case before the state government and is of the firm opinion that no jurisdiction can be invoked for such claims, ”said the court.
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