A Full Bench of the Madras High Court will hear tomorrow cases relating to closure of TASMAC shops/liquor shops in Tamil Nadu.
A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Sahi, Dr.Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice P.N.Prakash will hear the cases relating to TASMAC Shops in the State of Tamilnadu filed and pending in the Principal Seat at Madras and Madurai Bench through Video Conferencing on Thursday, 14.05.2020 at 10.30 a.m.
On May 8, a division bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Satynarayana ordered the closure of alcohol vending outlets in Tamil Nadu till the lifting of lockdown, taking note of huge crowd situation in outlets selling alcohol bottles in retail. The Court noted that the conditions imposed by it for regulating the crowd in TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) shops selling liquor were "blatantly violated".
The Court however permitted online sale of alcohol and home delivery.
On May 6, the Tamil Nadu Government issued an order permitting the opening of TASMAC shops.
This however led to formation of huge crowds and serpentine queues before the retail outlets, leading to the violation of social distancing norms to be followed to control COVID-19 transmission.
Following that, a batch of petitions were filed in the HC, challenging the Government decision to open the liquor shops.
On May 7, the same bench refused to stay the government order, but imposed several conditions for their functioning.
In a special sitting held on May 8, the bench noted that its conditions have been "blatantly violated".
"It is brought to the notice of this Court that about 3850 shops across the State were opened, and there was a record sale of Rs.175 Crores. The above scenario reported after the day one of the reopening of the TASMAC shops only go to show that the State machinery is out of control either in disciplining the crowd or even in the process of sales. It is also reported that the number of police personnel being infected with COVID-19 disease is also on the rise and deploying them for controlling the crowded tipplers before the TASMAC shops would also put their life at risk, besides preventing them from discharging their duties in places, where their services are really required", the bench observed.
TASMAC has filed SLP in the SC against the May 8 judgment of the Division Bench.