9 May 2020 8:35 AM GMT
A day after the Madras High Court directed the closure of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu, the state-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation(TASMAC) moved the Supreme Court challenging it.On Friday evening, 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...
A day after the Madras High Court directed the closure of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu, the state-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation(TASMAC) moved the Supreme Court challenging it.
On Friday evening, 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".
"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 HC observed.
The Court further added
"The video clippings and the Newspaper reports clearly go to prove that COVID-19 pandemic preventive norms, like Physical distancing and wearing of masks, etc. were thrown into air making serious concerns about the spread of the virus. There were also further reports about protests held in several places against the reopening of the liquor shops before the lockdown is lifted creating law and order problems. Despite the police personnel having been deployed, the State machinery could not control the crowding tipplers even on day one. The suggestion given by this Court to vend or sale online was also not heeded to".
The Court has 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 Friday evening, the bench noted that its conditions have been "blatantly violated".