The court said that these bars were serving as “meeting spots for criminals.”

Consider shutting bars attached to TASMAC shops Madras HC to state governmentImage for representation
news Liquor Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 13:08

The Madras High Court on Monday asked the Tamil Nadu government why it should not close down bars attached to the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) shops. The court said that it was these bars that were serving as meeting spots for criminals, which is why the government should consider closing them down.

This question came when the court was hearing two petitions. While one petition sought bail for 25 people who took part in an agitation against TASMAC stores, the other demanded a direction to shutter an outlet at Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai.

Justices N Kirubakaran and V Parthiban asked for the government’s response by July 4.

In response to an earlier query, the justices also asked the government why they can’t open the shops after 2 pm, instead of 12 pm every day.

TASMAC had said that other states open their shops by 10 am and Tamil Nadu is the only one to open it at 12 pm. The court, however, was not satisfied, and said that the state had a large number of people who were addicted to liquor.

According to The Hindu, Justice Kirubakaran said that opening the shops before noon encourages addicts to drink before they even start their day’s work. The judge also referred to the large turnover of TASMAC stores and said: “Tasmac is robbing away at least 60% of income of the poor and middle-class families. Addiction to liquor has reached high school level and it may go down further if left unchecked. Do you (government) want to enrich yourself even at the cost of children?”

However, if bars attached to TASMAC stores are actually shut, it may have the exact opposite effect instead of what is intended, say critics. In December 2017, when TASMAC was forced to shut almost all of its bars as licenses expired. At the time, only 10 out of the 240 bars present across Chennai opened. According to the Times of India, people were seen drinking in public places, and littered public spaces with bottles and packets in which they got their liquor, which was then left to the corporation workers to clear.

 

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