New Delhi: The Delhi excise department’s decision to shut down wine shops in case of public complaints of nuisance against them has been received with mixed reactions. Even as the department instituted two public hearings in Rohini and Dilshad Garden recently with nearly 100 percent residents voting against wine shops in those areas, some residents view the move as an eyewash, raising doubts about the legal validity of the decision.
The decision to shut down wine shops on public complaint comes a year after the AAP-led government itself came under public scrutiny for allegedly permitting as many as 399 new liquor shops in Delhi.
Reporting the Delhi government’s decision to shut down wine shop in case of public complaint The Hindu says, "If residents say that the presence of a liquor shop is creating a nuisance in the area, then the vend will be shut."
The decision was taken after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal received a number of complaints regarding nuisance created by wine shops.
"The focus is to ensure that public interest prevails in the case of wine shops too. If people do not want a wine shop in their area then it should not be there,” says a source in the excise department.
The excise department has already initiated the procedure of closing a few wine shops in Rohini and Dilshad Garden.
As per norms laid down to close down wine shops, the RWA in an area has to file a complaint with the local MLA about the shops. The district administration would conduct a hearing among the residents in a meeting, where minimum presence required would be 15 percent of the total number of voters of that area, including at least 33 percent women.
The report of the hearing would be sent to the excise department to initiate the process of closing down the shop.
"If two-third members present in a meeting decide to shut down a shop then it will have to be shifted. But even then, the members of the area where it is to be shifted will have to approve any such move," India Today quoted Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodiya as saying describing the procedure.
In Rohini and Dilshad Garden, such hearings were held recently and many of the residents participated actively in the procedure of shutting down wine shops. But many are doubtful of the legal validity of the move. For shifting a shop from one place would amount to closure of the shop as hardly any Resident Welfare Association would accept shifting of a wine shop to their locality. In that case, the Right to Live of the shop owner would stand challenged.
“How can a shop that has a valid license, be legally shut down just because people do not want it. It would be like the decision of a kangaroo court. Under which provision the government would close a shop that has a valid license, has not been made clear by the excise department,” says Ashutosh Dixit an office bearer of United Residents Joint Action (URJA), an association of RWAs.
He also said that until the government makes it clear under which provision such a decision has been taken, URJA would not take it seriously.
“When a competent authority takes any decision it would certainly be backed by appropriate paperwork. Every legal aspect would be certainly examined before the decision to shut down a wine shop is taken,” says JP Singh, an enforcement officer with the department.
Many residents doubt that the decision might be another ‘shoot and scoot’ measure of the present AAP government, which has a proven record of making populist statements and moving on without fulfilling them.
Significantly last year Yogendra Yadav, once a close aide of Kejriwal alleged that the AAP-led government in Delhi had given license to 399 new wine shops, making a U-turn from its election promise to end the trade of intoxicants within one month.
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Updated Date: Oct 31, 2017 22:11:58 IST