SC gives Bihar liquor companies time till July 31 to dispose stocks
Liquor manufacturers from Bihar on Monday got an extension of two more months till July 31 from the Supreme Court for disposing of their old stocks of alcoholic beverages worth over Rs 200 crore outside the state.
Earlier, the court had extended till May 31 the deadline of April 30 for disposing of old stocks, including raw material, fixed by the Nitish Kumar government which had imposed a ban on liquor in the state from April one last year.
A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta took note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, that the firms would be incurring huge losses if they are not allowed to dispose of their existing stocks of alcoholic beverages outside Bihar.
The state government opposed the demand for extension of time, saying the firms were indulging in illegal liquor trade.
"If they are engaging in illegal trade, then why don't you (state) check them? Do you think that once the stocks are cleared, there would be no illegal trade," the bench remarked.
It, however, made clear to liquor firms that the deadline of July 31 would not be extended under any condition.
The confederation, on May 24, had moved the apex court for extension of May 31 deadline.
The apex court had on March 31 granted time till May 31 to these companies to dispose of the old stocks and directed them to follow the resolution passed by the Bihar government with regard to disposal of stocks following the imposition of prohibition in the state.
The confederation, in its fresh plea, has said it was not possible to dispose of the old stocks worth over Rs 200 crore in such a short time as due procedure is to be followed for either destroying or exporting the stocks.
It had said that the stock was lying in the ware houses of companies and the godowns of Bihar State Beverage Corporation (BSBCL) which needed to exported to other states or destroyed.