Liquor firms seek 3 months to move stocks out of Bihar

| May 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

NEW DELHI: Racing against time to meet the May 31 deadline to dispose of their liquor stocks in Bihar, the manufacturers approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking three months’ more time to remove the stocks worth of more than Rs 200 crore out of the state.

Appearing before a vacation bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha, senior advocate Amit Sibal contended that it was not possible to transport old stocks of liquor out of state by May 31 and sought an urgent hearing for extension of the deadline.

Appearing for Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverages Companies, Sibal said it was not possible even to destroy the existing stocks by the end of this month and the liquor companies might face prosecution by the state government. Agreeing to hear the plea, the bench posted the case for May 29.

Although the state government had directed the companies to move their old stocks out of the state by April 30, the apex court, however, had on March 31 extended the deadline to May-end after the state government banned manufacture and sale of liquor in the state.

The confederation said in its petition that delay in disposing of the stocks was beyond its control as clearances were required from various agencies. It said United Spirit Limited was holding a stock of over Rs 100 crore in the state and the worth of stocks held by Pernod Ricard and Allied Blenders Distillers were around Rs 55 crore and Rs 37 crore respectively.

Although the state government had directed the companies to move their old stocks out of the state by April 30, the apex court, however, had on March 31 extended the deadline to May-end after the state government banned manufacture and sale of liquor in the state.

The confederation said in its petition that delay in disposing of the stocks was beyond its control as clearances were required from various agencies. It said United Spirit Limited was holding a stock of over Rs 100 crore in the state and the worth of stocks held by Pernod Ricard and Allied Blenders Distillers were around Rs 55 crore and Rs 37 crore respectively.

“For reasons beyond their control, they will not be able to remove a majority of their stocks from Bihar. The proposed destination states, where the liquor was to be exported, are taking long time to issue import permit and the companies have to obtain export permit from Bihar as well. The process is taking time and the liquor stocks cannot be taken out of state till the companies get all clearances,” the petition said.

The petitioner said talks were on with Telengana, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh governments for getting their permission to transfer and sell the stocks in their states.

Constitutional validity of the Bihar government’s decision to ban consumption and sale of liquor in the state is pending in the Supreme Court. The Patna HC had on September 30 last year quashed the April 5 notification of the state government banning consumption and sale of alcohol. The state government had challenged the HC verdict in SC which had stayed the judgment.

Courtesy: TNN

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Category: Bihar NEWS