A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court to challenge the decision taken last month by the Maharashtra government, allowing the sale of wine in supermarkets and walk-in stores in the state.

The petition filed by Sandip Kusalkar, a social worker, said the government's decision was defeating the aim and objective of de-glamorising alcohol consumption and would facilitate a person to buy alcohol on his own without any supervision.

The petitioner, who claims to be working closely with teenagers, young adults and underprivileged children, who are either orphans or unable to receive parental care, said such children are susceptible to social vices like alcohol or drug addiction and gambling.

In its meeting held on January 27, the state cabinet allowed the sale of wine in supermarkets and walk-in stores across the state. A minister had then said that the decision was taken to give a boost to fruit-based wineries which provide additional income to farmers.

The petition filed in the high court claimed that the state's decision was contrary to a government resolution of August 2011 that adopts a de-addiction policy.

The PIL claimed that the aim of the de-addiction policy adopted by the state government was to curb proliferation of addictions among youth, and to take efforts to discourage people from indulging in drinking habits.

"The resolution casts a duty upon the state to prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs, which are injurious to health, and to improve the standard of living and improve the public health at large," the PIL said.

The government resolution says that there shall be no sale of alcohol near educational, government offices, parks, hospitals, religious places and state and national highways, it added.

"Unfortunately, the said cabinet decision of the Maharashtra government is directly contrary to this resolve of the government itself and it speaks loudly about making available an elaborate market for wine products and effective marketing of wine in Maharashtra and to popularize wine drinking," the PIL said.

It added that the January 2022 decision only bars sale of wine in stores near educational and religious institutions.

The petitioner is likely to seek an urgent hearing of the plea next week.

With PTI inputs