Madras HC orders closure of liquor shops in TN, allows online sales

Madras High Court

Chennai, May 8 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Friday ordered closure of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu while permitting online sales till May 17 when the general lockdown comes to an end.

The liquor shops in the state were opened on Thursday after a gap of over 45 days and the total sales was around Rs 170 crore.

However, the conditions laid by the state government and the High Court while deciding to allow opening of the liquor shops were not followed.

For instance, the state government’s order to maintain six feet social distance between two persons in a queue was not followed.

As a result, several petitions – including that of Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam -were filed in the court, pointing out the violations.

Reacting to the court order, Kamal Haasan said it is not a victory for himself but a victory to be celebrated by Tamil Nadu. “It is a victory for the voice of Tamil mothers.”

Liquor retail in Tamil Nadu is a state monopoly run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, popularly known as Tasmac.

There are over 5,300 Tasmac liquor outlets in the state contributing about Rs 30,000 crore of tax revenue to the state exchequer.

The revenue from the liquor sales was bottled up during the lockdown period.

The Tamil Nadu government said the decision to open liquor shops in the state was taken in order to control the movement of people in the border areas with Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh as liquor shops have been opened there.

Major opposition parties in the state had strongly criticised the government’s decision to open the liquor outlets.

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