The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate closure of illegal bars functioning in the state and directed the government to file a status report on it by February 20. The order came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by D Prabakaran from Coimbatore, seeking government intervention in addressing the many issues concerned with the state-run TASMAC bars. He had sought the court to order the government to follow the rules and prevent bars from overcharging its customers, provide hygienic food and follow the licensing norms for such bars.
â€ś..Several TASMAC bars are run illegally without paying the license fee to the Government which causes loss to exchequer,â€ť read the petition. Adding that the government has failed to implement the Code of Prevention and Detection of Fraudulent Acts in TASMAC, 2014, Prabakaran also mentioned that his representations to various district authorities regarding this matter were not attended to and hence as a last resort he was approaching the court.
During the hearing of the plea by justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, the government submitted that during the surprise checks conducted between April and December 2018, it found that 3,326 bars were operating illegally â€“ some without license to sell alcohol.
Taking note of the submission, the bench directed the Secretary, Home, Prohibition and the Excise Department to collect the details of illegal bars from district authorities and issue an order to close all such bars.
Recently, the Madurai Bench of the High Court had told the government to focus on other avenues to obtain revenue apart from selling alcohol. This observation came on a PIL seeking courtâ€™s intervention in the timings of TASMAC bars in the state. The court had also raised questions if rules regarding the sale of alcohol in the state were being followed and if CCTV cameras have been installed in TASMAC shops and bars.