New Delhi, May 15 : The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on a petitioner seeking a direction to the Centre and states to shut down liquor shops, as it is not possible for the shopowners to maintain social distancing.
The petitoner insisted that people are blatantly violating social distancing norms while standing in long queues outside the liquor shops.
A bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice B.R. Gavai observed that multiple petitions raising similar issues have been filed by the petitioners merely for the sake of publicity.
The bench emphasized that it is not possible to entertain such petitions and while dismissing the PIL said that such frivolous petitions cannot be allowed under Article 32 of the Constitution. “We cannot have multiple petitions like this. They are all publicity-oriented. We will impose cost”, said the court.
The top court told the petitoner that it is for the Centre to address violation of social distancing, if people overcrowed outside liquor shops.
The bench imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on the petitioner.
The court observed such petitions stemmed from ‘lack of work’.
The petitoner insisted that it is essential to close down liquor shops amid the lockdown stating it would increase the risk of spread of the contagion.
Several state governments have been on the fence on the addressing the issue related to the re-opening of liquor shops.
Maharashtra soon revoked its order of re-opening liquor shops after overcrowding was reported outside many liquor vends, as people gathered flouting social distancing norms.
Some states have now resorted to the online sale of liquor, for example Delhi has introduced an e-token system under which specific time period is alloted to customers to purchase alcohol, a measure which government said would address the violation of social distancing norms.