A public interest litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking the closure of liquor shops in the national capital claiming that reopening the stores amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis puts the lives of citizens in danger. The petition, filed by an NGO named Civil Safety Council of India through advocate Arvind Vashishtha, sought directions to null and void the order dated May 3 passed by the Government of NCT of Delhi to allow liquor shops to reopen after a period of around 40 days.
The plea said that the people of Delhi were facing a complete lockdown for several days in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, however, the reopening of liquor shops has failed the whole system and puts the lives of citizens in danger. It said that it is the Delhi government’s constitutional duty and responsibility to ensure and secure the lives of its citizens.
“Delhi government allowed liquor shops across the city without any planning and crowd management. Liquor consumption is not in consonance with the Directive Principles of State Policy, under which improving public health is among the primary duties,” the plea said. This would include the prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health, it added.
“Due to this decision, a large number of people lined up outside liquor shops in Delhi for the second consecutive day, after they re-opened following a 40-day dry spell because of the coronavirus lockdown,” it said. The plea mentioned that the Delhi government, instead of closing the liquor shops, has increased the tax on all the brands of liquor, and added that even after that the situation is the same. It said that despite a 70 per cent increase in liquor prices in the city, large crowds and serpentine queues were seen flouting social distancing guidelines.