CHENNAI: A batch of over 250 writ petitions have been filed in the Madras High Court, challenging the validity of a tender notice of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) for grant of bar licence, which, among other things, imposed a condition that applicants have to quote three per cent or above on the actual sale of liquor in the wine shops as the licence fee for running the bar.
Justice TS Sivagnanam, before whom petitions from K Shanmugam, a licence-holder for a retail shop in Nanganallur and others came up, reserved orders on Wednesday.
According to advocate K Selvaraj and others, the Tasmac, by a notice dated November 3 last, has invited tenders for grant of bar licence from December 1, 2017 to November 30, 2018. As per the tender conditions, the applicant has to quote three per cent or above on the actual sale of liquor in October as an advance demand amount and the said amount will be the licence fee for December, 2017. For every month, the fee will be determined on the basis of the previous month’s sale in the shop and the percentage quoted by the applicant will be multiplied with the previous month’s sales and he has to pay the licence fee on that basis every month.
It would be highly possible for the petitioner to pay a minimum of three per cent on the actual sale as the licence fee since all purchasers in the wine shop do not enter into the bar and they do not consume drinks inside the bar. More than 65 per cent of the purchasers take away the bottles to their places. Only 35 per cent used the bar. Therefore, there was no 100 per cent sale in the bar as in the TASMAC wine shop. Further, there is also the condition that the bar licensee should collect only empty bottles voluntarily left out by the consumers and they cannot compel the consumer to leave the empty bottles in the bar. Many of them take away the empty bottles along with them. Therefore, the collection of empty bottles also does not match the actual sale in the wine shops.
Tasmac often increases the price of liquor, whereas prices of eatables and empty bottles remain the same. Therefore, the condition set by Tasmac that the licensee should pay a minimum of three per cent on the sales of previous month is an arbitrary one, the petitioners contended.