A week after the Madras High Court asked the government for a full list of liquor bars operating in the state without licences, the government has informed that only 13.53% of the licenced TASMAC bars in the state have complied with the mandatory registration under the Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011.
According to a report in the Times of India, Additional Advocate General PH Arvindh Pandian submitting the government's response said, “As on June 30, there are 4,533 retail vending shops and only 1,515 licences have been granted to sell eatables and to collect empty bottles left by the consumers in bars attached to retail vending shops. After the court issued directions to verify the compliance, we have issued show cause notices to all such bars to comply with the rules. If they do not comply, their licences would be cancelled and shops closed.”
According to the newspaper which quoted the Bench, those who drink liquor might not mind or bother about the quality of food served in such bars, but we are duty-bound to ensure safe food as mandated by law.
The court also stated that food inspections need to take place in TASMAC bars to ensure that quality food is served.
The Madras High Court has also asked the state government to file its response on the possibility of opening the state-owned TASMAC shops post 2 pm. As of now, the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation(TASMAC) shops in the state can be opened by noon.
According to a report in The Hindu, on July 4, Justices Kirubakaran and Parthiban had asked bars that operate out of TASMAC shops to hold Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 licences.
Reminding the state government of its promise to close down 500 liquor shops, the court asked when the government would do so.
The court had also ordered the state government and TASMAC to submit the full list of bars operating with and without licences by Friday.
The court was listening to a case where protesting an upcoming TASMAC store in the neighbourhood, members of the Naam Thamizhar party were arrested last year.
The matter has been posted to July 16.