The Madras High Court on Tuesday restrained the Tamil Nadu government from reopening state-run liquor outlets for the next months. This after the DMK together with Advocates Forum for Social Justice (the legal wing of the PMK) filed a petition challenging the state governmentâ€™s move to bring certain national and state highways under urban local bodies.
â€śThere shall be an order of injunction restraining the state from setting up or opening or relocating any liquor shops abutting/along national highways or state highways, running through the state, for a period of three months,â€ť said the first bench of the Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar.
Senior lawyer P Wilson representing DMK organising secretary RS Bharathi and PMKâ€™s legal wing had filed a petition on Monday alleging that it was illegal for the state to bring highways under the control of the local body administration as local body elections have not taken place.
When the first bench asked the advocate general Muthukumaraswamy on whether the governmentâ€™s move to reclassify the highways and bring them under local bodies would not lead to TASMAC shops being reopened, the counsel asked for more time to consult with the state government.
Following this, the High Court passed an interim order restraining the Tamil Nadu government from reopening the liquor outlets for three months, and posted the matter to July 10 for further hearing.
On April 21, The Commissioner of Municipal Administration sent out a circular to all officers directing them to bring certain stretches of state and national highways under their limit.
The move was seen as a way to circumvent the Supreme Courtâ€™s March 31 order upholding the ban on the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways. While the ban came into effect from April 1, the apex courtâ€™s ban extends to not just to retail liquor stores but also to bars and pubs.
Following the Supreme Courtâ€™s order, more than 3000 state-run liquor shops were shut in Tamil Nadu.