By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): After the Delhi government on Tuesday permitted the online sale of liquor, the petitioner and his lawyer who has knocked the Delhi High Court last year pitching for the same in the national capital on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the Delhi government.
Sajag Nijhawan, represented by lawyer Simran Kohli has knocked on the door of the Delhi High Court a year ago after seeing huge gatherings in liquor shops and sought to allow the online sale or home delivery of alcohol, to prevent crowding.
Advocate Simran Kohli, who herself does not consume alcohol but prefers public interest litigation for her client said that she believes to voice the rights of the public without any personal interest.
Advocate Kohli also welcomed the decision and said that this is a very welcoming step from the government.
She opined that keeping in view the second wave and kind of devastation it has caused, the online sale of liquor is a fine balance between revenue generation and social distancing.
"Given the relatively inelastic nature of alcohol's demand, online sale is well-suited to help economic recovery," the lawyer said.
Nijhawan, the petitioner also expressed similar views and said that this step from govt was long-awaited as other states like Maharashtra and West Bengal had allowed online delivery of liquor last year online. But better late than never because if people would have kept flocking liquor shops it would have been a huge detriment to the government's effort to contain the virus, Nijhawan said.
Last year Krishna Nagar resident Sajag Nijhawan has filed a petition in Delhi High Court seeking to evolve a proper policy to start the online sale of liquor and delivery it to the homes of consumers at a time when the entire machinery of the Country is tirelessly working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
His petition was filed in wake of controlling the large gathering that happened last year in and around 150 government-run liquor shops which opened after 47 days. Hundreds of people turned up outside the liquor shops creating complete chaos as social distancing norms were not adhered to.
The senior counsel appearing, for the petitioner Sajag Nijhawan has contended that the only solution to the problem of crowding at the liquor outlets is to permit the online sale of liquor and for home delivery and a direction should be issued to the Delhi Govt to devise a methodology therefor. Senior Advocate has informed that Zomato, till now engaged in-home delivery of food from restaurants, hotels, and eateries, has offered to also participate in the home delivery of alcohol.
He had also argued that since Zomato and other like entities have an established business model of home distribution, they are already equipped to commence home delivery of liquor and the same will prevent the danger of the spread of Covid-19 by those desiring to purchase alcohol coming in close contact with each other.
Delhi High Court on May 11, 2020, disposed of the plea directing the Delhi government and Centre to take a decision after considering the suggestions made during the hearing. (ANI)