Monday Mar 20, 2017

Supreme Court suspends SHC ruling on wine sellers

Supreme Court suspends SHC ruling on wine sellers

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has overruled Sindh High Court’s decision pertaining to the wine sellers in the province. The related petition has been approved for a hearing, which will be carried out by a three-member bench in the next three weeks.

The SHC had earlier ordered the closure of 120 wine-selling shops in Sindh and had sought from the provincial government a report on wine sellers’ licenses by April 1, 2017.

Prior to this, it was said that the existence of a law pertaining to the wine-sellers prohibits the SHC to pass any orders.

Justice Ejaz Afzal noted that wine selling was banned in 1979, saying that “the police can inquire about the doctor if alcohol is consumed for medicinal purposes.” He added that if anyone goes against the law, related security authorities have the right to take action.

Moreover, Dr. Ramesh Kumar stressed that Hinduism prohibits alcohol consumption. “Many wine sellers are located in the vicinity of mosques, temples, and churches,” he said.

Kumar determinedly underscored that the ban should not be lifted until the Sindh government responds to the High Court.

On the other hand, the lawyer for the wine-sellers’ union argued that “wine-sellers have proper licenses and pay taxes.”

Earlier, on November 17, 2016, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order to reopen Sindh’s wine shops that, in light of the SHC’s October 27 order, had been sealed and their licenses revoked.

Subsequently, in March this year, the court had ordered the provincial government to devise a ration-based system to distribute wine and submit a proposal within 30 days.