Vide its notification dated 15th November 2019, the Regulatory Compliance Division (RCD) of FSSAI has issued guidelines to be followed before according permission for online sale of liquor or alcoholic beverages to Food Business Operators (FBO).
This is in view of the Karnataka High Court Judgement dealing with a writ petition [no. 6448/2019 (Excise)] filed before it. The Court had ruled that :
“The Petitioner is not entitled to carry on business of online order processing and delivery of liquor to the consumers in the State of Karnataka in the absence of enabling provisions available under the Karnataka Excise Act 1965 to grant such license or permission”.
The FSSAI Notification also highlighted the fact that sale of liquor or alcoholic beverages was a State Subject controlled by the respective State Excise Departments. Further, consumption of alcohol was prohibited in some States while legally permissible age for consumption of liquor differed from State to State.
The FSSAI Notification, therefore, directed the Licensing Authorities to obtain self-declaration from FBOs who were applying for carrying on E-Commerce of Category 14 Food Items, namely, “Beverages excluding Dairy Products”, that they would not display or sell liquor or alcoholic food beverages online.
In cases where the FBOs wished to sell liquor or alcoholic beverages online, they would have to submit No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from the Excise Department of the concerned State(s).