The Delhi government has made a number of modifications to the rules governing the sale of alcohol in the national capital. Among the changes, an alteration in a clause relating to home delivery of alcohol received a lot of attention, particularly at a time when queuing outside liquor outlets is a risky venture due to the Covid-19 virus.
On June 1, the amendment was notified, and it went into force on June 11. It brought Delhi one step closer to having booze delivered to its doorstep.
But what is stopping the home delivery of alcohol to Delhi citizens now? News18 explains:
• The notification changed major rules in the Delhi Excise Rules, such as permitting microbreweries to sell takeaway draught beer and serving liquor on terraces, rooftops, and other open places in restaurants and bars.
• The earlier Rules technically enabled alcohol to be delivered to people’s homes in Delhi. liquor distributors needed to apply for an L-13 licence. Those with an L-13 licence could make such deliveries “at residences only if the order is received via e-mail or fax (not over the phone).”
• Due to the Rule’s somewhat impractical character, no one applied for the licence.
• The phrases “e-mail” and “fax” were simply substituted with “mobile apps” and “online web portals in the new rule.” The modified Rule is as follows: “Licence in Form L-13 for home delivery of Indian liquor and Foreign Liquor by ordering through mobile app or online web portal. The licensee shall make delivery of liquor at the residences only if order is received through mobile app or online web portal and no delivery shall be made to any hostel, office, and institution.”
• However, the notification was just a procedural step that changed an antiquated rule that would prevent the government from implementing home delivery even if it wanted to.
• And, the government will now have to create regulations to prevent abuse of the home delivery service, such as underage drinking and theft, among other things.
• Furthermore, because the sale of liquor is an important source of revenue for the government, it would want to make sure that the provisions are strong enough to prohibit interstate liquor smuggling.
• The government also needs to set delivery fees, which have a huge impact on liquor prices, as witnessed in areas like Kolkata and Mumbai, where alcohol is already delivered to people’s homes.
• The Delhi government has floated the possibility of developing a web platform to accept orders for home delivery of alcohol after the Supreme Court stated last year that states should consider home delivery of liquor, particularly in light of visuals of crowding outside alcohol shops after the first round of unlocking.
• However, as the city gradually opened up and liquor stores began to operate at full capacity, the proposal was shelved.