Madras HC asks TN govt to relook into its liquor policy

While hearing a petition challenging the opening of a recreational club in Trichy, the HC noted that the liquor policy appears to favour the government for setting up more liquor stores rather than promoting the welfare of citizens.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday, July 8, observed that the state government should revisit the existing liquor policy by considering the wellbeing of the common public. The court made these observations while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the opening of a recreational club in Trichy district. 

The bench of Justice R Suresh Kumar and Justice G Arul Murugan said that the present liquor policy promotes Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) outlets to aggressively sell alcohol, which would affect the society.  

“The Rule appears to have been made to protect these kind of TASMAC retail vending shops or IMFL retail vending shops or clubs or bars which aim to enhance the selling of these intoxicating materials which will go a long way to affect the society at large, i.e., the people in Tamil Nadu,” the bench said. 

Urging the government to revisit its liquor policy by seeking participation of the public, political parties and NGOs. “Taking such a decision may not be an easy task for the people in the government for a variety of reasons. But that would not justify the action on the part of the government to support the liquor policy presently being undertaken, whereby the society, especially the younger generation are put in peril, as such cases are reported almost daily in innumerable numbers,” the court said.

A petition was filed by D Prabhu, a resident of Uraiyur, in the High Court challenging the opening of a recreational club in Uraiyur in Trichy. The petition said that the recreational club would soon start selling liquor and pose a problem to the residents. 

However, since the opening of the club was not in violation of any of the rules, the objection was overruled by the court and the petition was closed. But the court noted that rules such as rule 8 of the The Tamil Nadu Liquor Retail Vending (In Shops And Bars) Rules, 2003 – which states that a liquor selling outlet should not be present within 50 metres of an educational institution, a place of worship in a Municipality or Municipal corporation and 100 metres in other areas – are not ensuring the welfare of people.

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