The Supreme Court today has allowed the Tamil Nadu Government to devise methods to sell liquor either online or through physical shops.
The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay KishanKaul and Justice MR Shah was hearing a petition filed by Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) challenging the order passed by the Madras High Court closing liquor shops in the State.
The bench observed that it is for the State Government to decide the manner in which the liquor is to be sold and accepted TASMAC’s contention that it cannot be instructed to sell liquor only through online means and home deliveries.
The division bench of Madras High Court comprising of Justice Vineet Kothari & Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayanan, ordered the closure of liquor shops and alcohol vending shops till lifting of lockdown on observing huge crowd is gathering outside retail outlets and blatantly violating the norms setup by the TASMAC.
The Tamil Nadu Government on May 6, issued order permitting opening of TASMAC shops in order to increase already falling revenues due to lockdown. This lead to gathering of huge crowds and queues outside retail shops leading to violation of social distancing norms to contain spread of COVID-19.
The Madras High Court in its order had observed that, “it is open to the State and the TASMAC to resort to only home delivery of the liquor by indirect sale during this lockdown period, viz., online booking of order for liquor and by putting the required system in place in the manner in which, they can sell the liquor and make home delivery in the above manner. As it is stated that there are 30,000 contractual employees available with the TASMAC, we are of the opinion that there cannot be any difficulty in undertaking the above exercise of indirect sales and home delivery either through their own employees or by outsourcing such supplies of liquor. While ordering so, it is made clear that the TASMAC shall ensure that the persons undertaking the delivery work have undergone necessary safety medical tests and they are complying with all the protocols for the prevention of spreading of COVID-19, and they should put into necessary medical tests at regular intervals.”
-India Legal Bureau
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