CHENNAI: No Tasmac retail outlets will be opened in the prohibited distance along the national and State highways, even within the municipal areas in the State till the next hearing (November 20), Advocate-General Vijay Narayanan has assured the first bench of the Madras High Court.He also submitted that a clarification application was pending in the Supreme Court and the State is taking steps to bring the matter for early hearing.
The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, before which the AG gave the undertaking, recorded the submission and adjourned the matter till November 20. Till then the status quo already ordered should be maintained, the bench said. The bench was passing interim orders on a PIL filed by Advocate Forum for Social Justice president K Balu, challenging the order of the Commissioner, Prohibition and Central Excise department, dated September 1 last, permitting to function the FL I and FL II licensed liquor shops within the Municipal Corporation limits.
The petitioner contended that the Supreme Court order was misunderstood by the department and without de-notifying or re-classifying the state highways, the Commissioner had passed the order, which was illegal. The authorities had also failed to note that the Supreme Court order dated December 15, 2016 prohibited the grant of licences for sale of liquor along and in the proximity of the national and state highways including those falling within the limits of Municipal Corporations, cities, towns or local authorities.The Apex Court’s directive did not prevent the authorities from re-classifying the inter-sectoral roads within the city from the state highways to major district roads.