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Issuance of Composite licenses for country made liquor and IMFL to Increase Business of Licensee: High Court of Rajasthan.

To increase the business of each licensee, composite licenses for country made liquor and IMFL are being issued for every shop instead of existing separate licenses for both types of liquor. This honorable judgement was passed by High Court of Rajasthan in the case of M/s Lucky Wines v. The State of Rajasthan [D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2993/2021] by The Hon’ble justice Satish Kumar Sharma.

All these petitions except petition No. 3378/2021, Sanwaria Seth and Brothers v. State of Rajasthan, was filed by the licensees of liquor under the Excise Policy 2020-21 of the State of Rajasthan with the prayer to direct the respondents to renew their licenses for another one year and to quash the new Excise Policy issued by the State Government for the year 2021-22. The petitioner submitted that the State Government in its excise policy for the year 2020-21 clearly assured the applicants that their licenses would be renewed for another one year. It is further contended that Section 37 of the Rajasthan Excise Act, 1950 certainly restricted them from claiming renewal of the licenses but such restriction is not applicable to the State Government, therefore, the State Government cannot take shelter of the said provision to not fulfil its promise. Initially the petitioners and other applicants were reluctant to apply for the licenses due to the losses occurred in previous years in which the licenses were issued only for one year and the attitude of the State Government being averse to change its stand.

 The petitioners relied upon the above assurance of the State Government and highlights of the excise policy issued on the websites and applied for the licenses. After obtaining the licenses they made huge investment in establishment of shops with the belief that they will get chance to run the shops at least for two years. The State Government had not considered the plight of the petitioners. They had to suffer huge losses due to the restrictions imposed by the State Government in COVID-19 Pandemic. The petitioners in the whole year could open their shops for full-time only for a period of two and a half months. The reliefs and rebates provided in other contractual obligations have not been extended to the liquor.

The court dismissed the petition stating that, “In the cases cited by the petitioners, the relief was granted to the petitioners against the State Government on the basis of promissory estoppel, legitimate expectation and fairness, the State Government has not made any promise to renew the licenses of the petitioners for another one year mandatorily. The new policy issued by the State Government for the year 2021-22 has already been issued in fair manner with definite legitimate objective which do not violate any fundamental or legal rights of the petitioners or others. Thus, the facts and circumstances of this case are quite different, therefore, the judgments cited by the petitioners are not applicable in this case.

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