The Madras High Court on Friday (May 8) ordered the closure of state-run TASMAC liquor outlets across Tamil Nadu in the wake of violations of social distancing norms amid COVID-19 lockdown.
A special division bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Sathyanarayana passed the interim order citing blatant violations of a slew of conditions imposed by the court on May 6, while permitting the reopening of shops from May 7.
However, the division bench on Friday allowed the sale of liquor online.
The court had on May 6 imposed conditions like strict adherence to social distancing for reopening the shops.
As many as 3,700 of the total 5,300 TASMAC shops reopened after over 40 days on Thursday raking in over Rs 172 crore in revenue in just seven hours of functioning. However The sales figures for Friday were not available
Following High Court order Government of Tamilnadu controlled TASMAC has issued closure of shops . It is important With in 48 hours of opening the shops are being made to shut down by high court
Earlier during two days of sale of liquor Social distancing rules were flouted at the majority of the TASMAC shops on Thursday and Friday with tipplers jostling with each other to get their share of booze.
Friday’s orders came on a batch of petitions moved by lawyers Rajesh WMP 8929/2020 in WP 7589 /2020 and Lawyer Ramkumar adityan WP 7578/2020 alleging that conditions imposed by the court were not followed at TASMAC shops.
The Tamil Nadu government on May 4 had announced that the state-run TASMAC liquor stores will be opened in non-containment zones from May 7.
Tamilnadu state government stand was Tasmac outlets were being opened as the neighbouring states of Andhra and Karnataka opened their liquor stores and residents from Chennai and other bordering districts were crossing over to get alcohol.
It is important to note as on May 6, the High Court had refused to stay the decision of the Tamil Nadu government’s to re-open state-run TASMAC liquor outlets.
The decision was applicable for the whole state except for the shops falling under the Chennai City Police limits.
Erratic preparations was on and the stock of liquor bottles safely stored away from the shops where bottles were stolen in large numbers – were transported in trucks back to the shops. Government higher officials issued token were given the drinkers much prior open of shops
The government too had ordered social distancing of six feet to be maintained between two persons standing in the queue.
Tamilnadu government also came out with fancy ideas such as liquor sales timings for different age groups – those over 50 years of age can buy from 10 am to 1 pm, those in the age group 40-50 between 1 pm to 3 pm and for below 40 years of age, between 3 pm and 5 pm.
But none could control the surged crowd . Earlier in the day, a scuffle broke out between protestors including the Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers and Police in Madurai during an agitation against the state government`s decision to open liquor shops amid lockdown.
Women were leading the protest and some joined the protest with their children.
DMK and its allies had on May 6 released a joint statement, announcing that they will wear black as a symbol of protest and raise slogans against the state and central governments “on their failure in handling COVID-19 situation”.
“Condemning the opening of the liquor shops, we are going to wear black tomorrow in our respective homes at 10 am and raise slogans against AIADMK government saying `AIADMK government has failed in curtailing coronavirus`,” the statement had said.