Liquor an essential commodity, can not order closure during funeral of former President; Madras High Court
Madras High Court has held that the government-run Tasmac shops vending liquor in retail could not be ordered to be closed during the funeral of former President APJ Abdul Kalam which is scheduled to take place on Thursday. During the hearing,Justice C S Karnan of Madras High Court reportedly commented that "In five star hotels, liquor is served from 5am to 11pm. When people in five star hotels can drink, why not these people ?:. He also made an observation that "liquor is an essential commodity for 30 per cent of people in Tamil Nadu”.
Advocate K Baalu appearing for the Advocates Forum for Social Justice urged the court to order closure of all Tasmac shops in the state on Thursday when funeral of the former president is going to be held at Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district. He pointed out that State government has declared a public holiday for all government as well as private establishments in Tamil Nadu and the benefit of leave should be extended to the 28,000 Tasmac employees also. The Government attorney submitted that holiday has been declared for Tasmac shops in Ramanathapuram district for two days - July 29 and July 30.
The judge declined to pass any orders saying that “"We have to appreciate the policy of the government in declaring holiday, and closing liquor shops for two days in Ramanathapuram district. But the court cannot interfere with the government's revenue- without hearing the officials of department concerned”. The Judge added that he had great respect forKalam, and he was leaving for Rameswaram immediately to take part in the funeral.
Justice Karnan was in news in the past also for his controversial views. Supreme Court had observed that Justice Karnan’s ‘Sex amounts to marriage’ Judgment has no universal application. He hadalleged that a judge of the Madras High Court sexually assaulted an intern in the High Court premises.