CHENNAI: How are defence canteens, duty free shops in airports and certain high-class hotels attached to airports, situated near/on National/State highways, allowed to sell or serve liquor? Is the ban imposed by Supreme Court on December 15 last year and March 31 this year not applicable to them?, wondered the first bench of the HC.
The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar expressed anguish when a PIL from AMK Sahul Hameed of Avadi for a directive to the State Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise to stop the sale of liquor in the licensed premises of FL4A, FL5, FL7, FL9 and FL10 (categories) came up on Friday.
Directing the State and its various agencies to file their counters in three weeks and the petitioner to file his rejoinder, if any, thereafter within two weeks, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 24.
In his PIL, Hameed pointed out that despite the ban order, which had been implemented from March 31 last, the defence canteens and duty-free shops in airports and certain hotels, all situated near or along highways, continue to sell liquor and permit customers to drink in bars attached to them.
The Prohibition and Excise Commissioner, the licensing authority and police, the enforcing authority are not taking any steps to stop the sale of liquor in these premises. The same will amount to violating the orders of the Apex Court, petitioner contended and prayed for a direction to the governments and its agencies to make the ban order applicable to them too.