The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the order of the Delhi Government through which it had prohibited any discount or rebate on the sale of liquor in national capital [Bhagwati Transformer Corp. and Ors v Government of NCT of Delhi]..The order was pronounced by Justice V Kameswar Rao who had reserved it on Monday. The petition had sought the interim relief of a stay on the Delhi government's order, which has been denied. The matter will be heard on next March 25, 2022. .The Delhi excise commissioner had passed an order on February 28 discontinuing any discount or rebate on the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of liquor in the national capital.The order had cited reports of large crowds at liquor stores as well as “unhealthy market practises” as the reason for the discontinuation of the discounts and said that the vendors are indulging in promotional activities which is prohibited under the Delhi Excise Act..A batch of petitions were filed in the High Court challenging the order on the grounds that it was against government’s own liquor policy which expressly permits grant of discounts by the retailers and the decision has been taken without giving any opportunity of hearing to them.Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Sajan Poovayya and others, had argued that the discount policy was part of the terms of the license that they received following the due process and therefore, promoted healthy market practices ultimately benefiting customers.Rohatgi submitted that all of the reasons cited by the Excise Commissioner in his order are without merit and it was passed based on pleas of some ‘unidentified licensees' who are saying that since they cannot give discounts, therefore others should be prohibited as well.He also rebutted the argument that because of low prices boot-legging was going on..Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi Government, had defended the ban saying that the State cannot be a mute spectator to boot-legging, predatory pricing and efforts by some industry sharks to create a monopolistic market.The senior counsel said that it is the sale of liquor that was being dealt with and therefore, the State cannot be blindfolded by revenue generation.Singhvi argued that under the Excise Act and Excise Rules, the Excise Commissioner has the power to limit the extent of discount that can be provided on liquor.He submitted that liquor vendors cannot claim protection provided under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) since it is the trade of liquor that is being dealt with here.Mehra said that it is because of the exorbitant discounts being given on liquor that some individuals have started hoarding liquor and taking it outside Delhi for sale, which is prohibited under law.He said that just a few days back, authorities intercepted a lorry bound for Gujarat carrying several crates of liquor.“Individuals are also now hoarding liquor and taking it outside Delhi. This cannot be done. Bootlegging at large scale is being done. There are shops whose turnover has increased from 20,000 bottles to over 1,20,000 bottles, a six-fold increase… Where is this consumption? Is this Delhi? This is going to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal. We have already caught one going to Gujarat,” Mehra contended.