Relief for Bihar liquor manufacturers, SC extends time for disposing old stock

New Delhi [India], May 29 : The Supreme Court on Monday provided relief to several liquor manufacturers of Bihar by extending the time limit for disposing old stocks from May 31 to July 31.

A vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta extended the time limit from May 31 to July 31 to dispose of old stocks, including raw material, lying in their ware houses.

The apex court heard the submissions and arguments made by Kapil Sibal, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and counsel appearing for the state of Bihar Keshav Mohan.

Mohan told the apex court that there was illegal trade going on in the state and no extension should be given Several liquor manufacturers approached the apex court seeking an extension of the May 31 deadline for moving liquor stocks out of the state.

Earlier on May 21, the apex court refused to extend license of four liquor companies in Bihar. The apex court has also asked the Patna High Court to constitute a bench and hear the matter in a time bound manner and dispose it by May 10.

The four liquor companies had knocked the doors of the top court, seeking an extension of their licenses and hear their pleas.

However, the bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra refused to grant any relief to the four companies. The Bihar Government had in January moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of plea against the liquor ban legislation from the Patna High Court.

Alcohol companies had earlier moved the Patna High Court against the liquor ban. The new legislation, banning sale and consumption of alcohol, including Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well as spiced and domestic liquor, prescribes harsher punishment for possession and consumption of alcohol.

The apex court, last October, had stayed the Patna High Court's order, quashing the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in Bihar.

The apex court had admitted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Bihar Government's plea and also issued notice to Confederation of Alcoholic Beverage Companies.

The state government had moved the apex court challenging the High Court's order of striking down the Bihar Prohibition of Liquor Act.

Source: ANI