Tamil Nadu govt can’t support liquor policy that puts youth in peril, says Madras HC

Hearing the case, the court said the location of a Tasmac shop or bar or a recreation club for selling IMFL gets ascertained for granting licence as per Rule 8 of the Retail Vending Rules.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

MADURAI: In a bid to ensure the welfare of people, especially the younger generation who are the pillars of tomorrow’s society, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court said that it was high time the state government revisited the liquor policy, and took conscious decisions.

A division bench comprising justices R Suresh Kumar and G Arul Murugan, while dismissing a petition filed by D Prabhu, said that taking such a decision may not be an easy task for the government for a variety of reasons. However, that could not justify the government’s move to support the liquor policy, which puts the younger generation in peril.

In his petition, Prabhu submitted to forbear the officials concerned from opening/establishing a recreation club on Kulumani Main Road in Woraiyur in Tiruchy. Taking advantage of the TN Liquor Retail Vending (in shops and bars) Rules, 2003, which do not permit liquor licenses within 50 metre radius of temples or educational institutions in municipal corporations and municipalities, the authorities issued permission to establish the shop 100 metre away, he submitted.

Hearing the case, the court said the location of a Tasmac shop or bar or a recreation club for selling IMFL gets ascertained for granting licence as per Rule 8 of the Retail Vending Rules. In case of the issue raised by the petitioner, the court found no violation by the authorities concerned.

Formulating the rule lies within the exclusive domain of the government, and it is common knowledge that the location of a Tasmac outlet merely 50m from a place of worship or educational institution, does not count as a vast distance. However, according to the administration, the outlets do not harm the public in the locality including schoolchildren.

Pointing out that many similar cases, wherein residents opposed the authorities’ move to set up Tasmac shops in the their locality, have come up for hearing lately, the court added, “In most such cases, the authorities stated that they did not violate the rules. The Retail Vending Rules, especially Rule 8, is supposed to protect the people from everyday law and order issues created by those thronging liquor vending shops. However, here, the rule appears to have been formulated to protect Tasmac shops, thereby affecting the society at large.”

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