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K'taka HC rejects liquor wholesalers' plea to stay order

Written by: Staff
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Bangalore, June 29 (UNI) The Karnataka High Court today rejected the prayer of liquor wholesalers to stay the operation of a recent order allowing supply of liquor to retailers only through the Karnataka State Beverages Company Limited, a government undertaking, by amending the Excise Rules for vending liquors.

The Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice Gopala Gowda and Mr Justice Kumaraswamy, admitted a batch of writ petitions filed by M/s Kanaka Durga Agency of Raichur and 28 other wholesalers from Mandya, Bellary, Mysore and other districts, challenging the legality of the Karnataka Excise (Sale of Indian and Foreign liquor) (Amendment) Rules gazetted on June 18 and the notifications issued thereunder requiring the retail liquor vendors to obtain their supplies from the Karnataka State Beverages Company Limited.

They said they had valid licences which were effective till June 30 and the same had to be renewed for the next year. But the state government had made the impugned amendment depriving them of the business which they had established.

The petitioners argued that the rules were violative of articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Government contended that the impugned step was necessary to augment the income of the government and it would yield about Rs 125 crore to the state exchequer. It could also be made available for social purposes. Similar steps taken by other states, including Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, had been upheld, it pointed out.

The court, after hearing both the parties, rejected the prayer for stay of the impugned rules, while admitting the petitions for further hearing.

UNI XR RG PK RAI2144

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