Guwahati: The Aizawl Bench of the Gauhati High Court on Wednesday has allowed liquor vendors to open the liquor shops till March 31 which was earlier notified by the Mizoram Government to extend the dry days due to the coming election.
The Mizo National Front (MNF) government had in keeping with an election promise of imposing prohibition declared dry days from December 21, 2018 on the eve of Christmas and New Year Eve till January 14 which was later extended till March 10 for the upcoming election.
In connection with the government’s call to extend the dry days, the Mizoram Liquor Dealers’ Association and owners’ of three bonded warehouses in the state had filed petition against the government on January 17 challenging the extension of dry days saying that it incurred a loss of Rs. 4 lakh per day while the liquor stock was piling up because of purchases made till the end of the current fiscal.
Francis Sailo, a liquor vendor said that the high court quashed the notification of the government since there was no exit protocol to pave the way for prohibition. “The high court’s decision to reopen the liquor shop has been a great relief for the vendors and warehouse owners whose business was hampered due to the sudden dry day declaration which was later extended till March 10,” said Sailo.
The owners of the bonded warehouses said it would be impossible to offload the stock by March because of the temporary ban on sales for more than a month.
The government closed down nine state-run liquor shops from December 21 to January 14 after the cabinet meeting held on December 18 last in view of Christmas and New Year eve. However, the government has cited reasons of extension of ban on liquor sale till March 10 due to Republic Day and Chapchar Kut festival after the second Cabinet meeting held on January 10.
It is to be mentioned that MNF had promised to bring back the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act (MLTP), 1995 which was replaced in 2014 by Congress.
The origin of Prohibition of Act states that after the signing of agreement for peace accord between MNF & Indian Government, society gradually changed with increased drinking patterns, unemployment, rapid economic change and urbanization lead to increased crimes.