PIL filed before Delhi High Court challenging “Special Corona Fees” on purchase of liquor in Delhi
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PIL filed before Delhi High Court challenging “Special Corona Fees” on purchase of liquor in Delhi

Aditi Singh

A public interest litigation has been filed before the Delhi High Court to challenge the “Special Corona Fees” which is being levied on the purchase of liquor in Delhi.

Petitioner, Lalit Valecha, has contened that levying 70% Fee over and above the Maximum Retail Price which is inclusive of all taxes, duties and levies, is without the authority of law and most arbitrary in nature.

The Petition is likely to come up for hearing on May 11.

Filed through Advocates Lalit Valecha, Manu Prabhakar, Sadaf Iliyas Khan, Tushar Anand & Abhinav Meen, the Petition states that by virtue of Section 26 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 only four "excise revenues" can be collected under the Act i.e. duty, license fee, label registration fee and import or export fee and there is no mention of any kind of ‘special fee’ that can be imposed and included as part of excise revenue.

It is added that as defined under the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, “MRP” means the maximum price at which the liquor may be sold to the ultimate consumer and shall include all taxes, freight, transport charges, commission or trade margin payable to dealers, and all charges towards marketing, delivery, packing, forwarding etc.

Thus, increasing the maximum retail price of liquor by 70% by means of an executive order is illegal and bad in law, it is asserted.

The Petitioner has further contended that the order levying Special Corona Fee @ 70% of the Maximum Retail Price was only an after thought and an after-effect of the overcrowding and mis-management at liquor shops.

Asserting that the "Special Corona Fee" is unjustifiable, arbitrary and highly excessive, the Petitioner has stated that imposition of a whopping 70% special corona fee is too much for the common man to bear especially when every person has been financially hit in the prevailing circumstances arising out of COVID-19.

It is claimed that the exceptionally high "Special Corona Fee" of 70% was only a "means to loot the persons consuming liquor in Delhi who are already financially hit with the limited income source in prevailing crisis and who have waited patiently for the liquor vends to re-open in Delhi after a gap of almost six weeks".

In view of the above, the Petitioner has prayed for a direction to set aside the levy of Special Corona Fee on liquor or any other consumable product.

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