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Discounts on Liquor promote more drinking, Delhi govt tells HC

The Delhi administration told the high court on Thursday that it had stopped discounts on liquor because it was encouraging people to drink and creating a monopoly in the market.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, told justice V Kameswar Rao that “a lot of malpractices in the pretext of discounts were going on.”

“A lot of malpractices in the guise of discounts were going on. Two of them I have highlighted is promoting drinking beyond a reasonable limit and monopolising,” senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told justice V Kameswar Rao.

For the first time, the Delhi government’s new excise policy permitted retailers in the city to sell liquor at a discount or with special offers. Retailers offered high discounts, causing crowds in certain establishments throughout the city. The cancellation of discounts (for which an order was issued on February 28) occurred as Delhi prepares for key municipal elections next month, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which now governs the civic bodies, hence, focusing on the new excise policy.

The liquor licence holders contended in one of the petitions filed by Bhagwati Transformer Corporation through advocate Sanjay Abbott that the government’s decision takes away their right to make business decisions regarding discounts, concessions, and rebates, which the petitioners were otherwise empowered to make under the new excise policy and tender documents.

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