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CM's tough stance against Ratan Lal's backdoor attempt for Liquer License for relatives : HC dismissed Minister Ratan Lal ’s Nephew (Liquor Seller) Subrata Nath’s petition challenging Govt’s Excise Policy
TIWN June 17, 2020
CM's tough stance against Ratan Lal's backdoor attempt for Liquer License for relatives : HC dismissed Minister Ratan Lal ’s Nephew (Liquor Seller) Subrata Nath’s petition challenging Govt’s Excise Policy
PHOTO : Law Minister Ratanlal Nath (Left), High Court Order (Right). TIWN Photos.

AGARTALA, June 17 (TIWN): Tripura High Court’s recent judgement in a petition filed against Tripura Govt’s tender policy has upheld Govt’s policy, dismissing the plea, which has exposed an infighting in the cabinet itself. Chief Minister Biplab Deb's tough stance against irregularities visible when CM refused Rs 10 crores donation to BJP Party fund by Liquer association led by Ratan Lal. Minister Ratanlal Nath’s own relative challenged Govt’s policy for own benefits. Tripura High Court has dismissed Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath’s Nephew (Liquor Seller) Subrata Nath’s petition which challenged State Govt’s Excise Policy, upholding Tripura Govt’s Excise Policy, but the petition was dismissed in a judgement by Chief Justice Akhil Kureshi. Petitioner Subrata Nath is engaged in the business of selling liquor, has various licensed liquor shops from where he regularly does such vending business.

Subrata Nath had challenged a circular issued by the Commissioner of Excise, Government of Tripura under which it is clarified that an Indian Passport will also be accepted as a valid document as a proof of citizenship in lieu of Citizenship Certificate/Permanent Resident of Tripura Certificate (PRTC).

A Govt source said, earlier under the previous excise policy state was receiving nearly 55 crore in three years, but now after new policy State Govt may receive 210 crore in next 3 years.

Also the Minister Ratanlal has meet  CM With liquor association representative they offered 10 Cr annually to a party leader for party fund, but CM decided to maintain the transparency.

About the Case :

Under tender inviting notice dated 15th January, 2020 which was published in the local newspapers on 18th January 2020, the Government authorities invited interested renderers to apply within 21 days for granting licence for retail vending of country as well as India made foreign liquor in the State of Tripura.

Under tender inviting notice dated 15th January, 2020 which was published in the local newspapers on 18th January 2020, the Government authorities invited interested renderers to apply within 21 days for granting licence for retail vending of country as well as India made foreign liquor in the State of Tripura. The closing date of the tender was 7th February, 2020.

The details inviting such tender required the intending tenderer to submit several documents including the following :

 Attested copy of Citizenship Certificate/Permanent Residential Tripura Certificate,

Voter I-Card, PAN Card and AADHAAR Card of the tenderer."

Under impugned circular dated 3rd February, 2020 the Commissioner of Excise made the above noted clarification which has aggrieved the petitioner as to file the present petition.

Subrata Nath challenged the State Govt of Tripura against Govt’s decision of accepting Indian Passport as a valid alternative document in place Citizenship Certificate/PRTC-clarification.

High Court then brought to the notice of the Commissionerate of Taxes & Excise by the Collectorates on whether Indian Passport can be accepted as a valid document as a proof of Citizenship in lieu of Citizenship Certificate/PRTC.

Accordingly, the issue was clarified vide this office letter No.F.II-7(20)-Ex/2019(Khowai)/17323-30 dated 04-12-2019 mentioning that Indian passport can be accepted as a suitable and valid document as a proof of Citizenship. Page - 3 of 6 Now, the issue as pointed out above is once again clarified and reiterated that the Tendering Authority i.e., the Collector(s) of Excise may accept copy of Indian Passport as a Valid alternative tendered document in lieu of Citizenship Certificate/PRTC as a proof of Citizenship.

The Tendering Authority should ensure that wide publicity is made regarding the documentary proof requirement through necessary channels. This is issued with the approval of the State Government in the Finance Department."

“Learned counsel for the petitioner vehemently contended that the respondents have expanded the scope of qualification of that prospective tenderers. This was done after the tender process had begun. On the principle of the rules of game cannot change after the game has begun, the same was wholly impermissible. He submitted that with the aid of impugned circular even a non-Indian would be qualified to bid. In this respect, he relied on Section 20 of the Passports Act, 1967 which authorises the Central Government to issue a passport or a travel document to a person who is not a citizen of India, if the Government is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so in public interest”, the Court order said.

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