The Madras High Court on Wednesday imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 and dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to restrain the state-run TASMAC from commencing online retail sale of liquor without making available a mobile app or website for the purpose.
A special bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana directed petitioner, advocate Ramkumar Adityan, to remit the cost to the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund.
It was on the petitioner's earlier PIL that the court had on May 8 directed closure of the liquor shops till the end of COVID-19 lockdown, a day after they had reopened after over 40 days.
Meanwhile, a full bench of three judges headed by Chief Justice AP Sahi is expected to hear PILs on Thursday on the reopening of the TASMAC shops that were closed following the High Court order, according to a report in Live Law.
The case will be heard by Chief Justice AP Sahi, Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice PN Prakash through video conferencing at 10.30 am.
The Tamil Nadu government ordered the reopening of TASMAC shops on May 7 throughout the state, except in Chennai. Following this, the Madras High Court on May 6 ordered restrictions including maintenance of social distancing norms and limitations for purchasing liquor. The High Court also warned that the TASMAC shops will be shut in case the government observes violation of social distancing norms.
On May 7, the TASMAC shops reopened despite widespread resistance from the Opposition parties. Many thronged the outlets, flouting social distancing norms.
Taking a note of this, the Madras High Court on May 8 ordered the closure of TASMAC shops and permitted the sale of liquor only through online delivery options. The court had then given the interim order, saying its earlier guidelines on liquor sales to ensure social distancing and other safety measures against COVID-19 had been violated.
The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.
(With inputs from PTI)