June 01: Following the footsteps of states like Maharashtra and the ease of availability of wine and liquor at lower prices in the neighbouring Gurgaon, the Delhi government yesterday released a notification through Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021 allowing the home delivery of wine and liquor to stores holding L-13 license provided the customer orders online through email or fax, writes Subhash Arora who feels that the step would also help the fund-strapped State to boost revenues and reduce the chance of catching corona virus
There is a saying in Hindi- Der aaye duroost aaye which translates into ‘Better late than never’. After Maharashtra and a few other States selling liquor but a negligible amount of wine, permitted home delivery last year and again this year in April during the second wave, the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021, released the notification yesterday in this regard.
Also Read : BMC allows Wine Home Delivery during Lockdown in Mumbai
Residents of Delhi would soon be able to order wine and liquor online (including fax) and get it delivered at their home. The Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 have been amended and the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021 was notified yesterday, allowing holders of L-13 license to deliver liquor at the doorstep of consumers, basically like any other food product.
Also Read : Delhi introduces Excise Reforms with Legal Drinking Age reduced to 21
An amendment in Rule 66 of the Excise Rule has been made in clause 6 which allows only the liquor stores holding Licence in Form L-13 for home delivery of Indian liquor (and wine) and Foreign Liquor (and wine) by ordering through mobile app or online web portal. Home delivery will be allowed provided the order is received through mobile app or online web portal. No delivery shall be made to any hostel, office, and institution.
As always, the Delhi government has not been pro-active and as always, late to come out with practical policies. It is not even original or innovative. As far back as a year ago the Supreme Court had suggested Home Delivery of Liquor during Covid Pandemic. For the first time, a direction and positive suggestion came from the Supreme Court on 8 May last year when the bench refused to pass any order to ban liquor sales but recommended that States should consider indirect sale /home delivery of liquor to maintain social distancing.
Also Read : Blog: Delhi Excise getting ready to improve Wine and Liquor Policy
In support of the Delhi government, one must add that it was heavily weighed under the stress of Covid management with acute shortage of oxygen, ventilators and ICU beds resulted in unprecedented deaths, and naturally gave low priority to alcohol delivery. In fact, strong protests are expected from various trade bodies not allowed to open their businesses during the relaxed Lockdown announced yesterday.
Also Read : Reforms expected in Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22
Besides, Delhi enjoys a 2-step government where every decision by the elected AAP government has to be vetted by the Lt. Governor Anil Baijal who must ponder over the matter before taking the final decision.
Also Read : West Bengal and Orissa Start Liquor Home Delivery through Apps
Home Delivery only through L-13 Licensees
Excise officials emphasised that the new rule does not empower every liquor retailer to deliver alcohol at the consumer’s doorsteps. “Only a specific license holder will be allowed to home deliver liquor. In Delhi, we have now allowed home delivery of liquor only to L-13 license holders,” clarified an official.
Also Read : Pragmatic Maharashtra allows Sale of Alcohol and Home Delivery
He added this is not a new license category created. L-13 permits for home delivery existed in the previous excise rules as well. But hardly any such license was issued till now because of complexities in the relevant clause, which stated that liquor can be home-delivered only after orders are placed through fax or emails.
Also Read : Supreme Court suggests Home Delivery of Liquor during Covid Pandemic
In a separate set of amendments, the licensees have been allowed to serve liquor in balconies, terraces and open spaces, provided they are not visible to an outsider.
A List of L-13 Licensees will be circulated by the Indian Wine Academy as soon as it is received from our sources. www.indianwineacademy.com .
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