Aizawl: The Gauhati High Court has asked the Mizoram government to allow re-opening of wine shop across the state still May 27 or till The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019 is notified, following appeals by bonded warehouse dealers, sources said on Sunday.
According to a judgment order issued by the Aizawl bench of Gauhati High Court judge, Justice Michael Zothankhuma on Saturday said liquor vendors and bonded warehouse dealers be allowed to re-open their shops to dispose of their stock and asked the state government to allow them renew their vending licence within one week.
Liquor shops should be allowed to re-open till May 27 or the newly liquor law is implemented as the existing The Mizoram Liquor (Prohbition & Control) Act, 2014 is still valid, the order said.
Altogether, there are privately run 43 liquor shops, three bonded warehouses, two bars and one micro brewery across the state.
Earlier, dealers of three bonded warehouse — Raphael Warehouse, SS Enterprise and RTP Warehouse — had filed separate writ petitions to the high court, seeking additional time to dispose of their stocks after their licences expired on May 31.
On March 8, the state government issued an order instructing all liquor vendors and bonded warehouse dealers to dispose their stocks on or before March 31, as the new liquor law was likely to come into effect from April 1.
Citing insufficiency in time, warehouse dealers said they could not dispose of their stock within a stipulated time as the Mizo National Front (MNF)-led government allowed them renewed their licence on February 26 to import liquors from neighbouring states.
Sticking to its pre-poll promises, the MNF government headed by chief minister Zoramthanga, three days after it assumed power on December 15, had banned liquor sales by closing down nine liquor shops run by government agencies and declaring dry days from December 21, 2018 to January 14, 2019 which was extended till March 10.
However, the long spell of dry days was quashed by the Gauhati High Court following appeals by liquor vendors and bonded warehouse dealers.
All the wine shops, warehouses, bars and brewery were closed from April 1 as their licences under “The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Act, 2014 had expired on March 31.
The state assembly had on March 20 passed The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill, 2019, that sought to prohibit import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.
State governor Jagdish Mukhi had given his nod to the bill.
The proposed prohibition law, however, is put on hold following the Election Commission’s directive not to notify it till the Lok Sabha election process is over on May 27.