NEW DELHI :
The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Government of Tamil Nadu to device a framework to sell liquor online or through physical outlets and added that it is not court’s jurisdiction to lay down rules for the sale of liquor.
Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Ltd (TASMAC) has been directed file a detailed affidavit enumerating the procedure devised for the sale of liquor in retail shops.
The order passed by the Apex court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan observed, “We, however, observe that it shall be open for the State to take a call with regard to manner of distribution, sale of liquor (on-line sale and home delivery also) and issue appropriate guidelines for managing them.”
The bench also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah granted three weeks’ time to file affidavit regarding the status of the shops which are run by Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi also sought time to file details on the steps being taken with regard to the regulations of sale of liquor in different shops. The request was granted by the court.
The court also ordered for the interim order of the stay on the Madras High court order to continue.
On 15 May, the apex court had stayed the Madras High court order of 8 May which directed to close all the liquor shops in Tamil Nadu till the lockdown is lifted. The order had been passed on the grounds that social distancing and safety norms were flouted at the liquor stores. The HC, however, had said it is open to the state and TASMAC starting online sales of liquor after putting a required system in place.
The Tamil Nadu government approached the apex court on 9 May challenging the validity of Madras HC’s order. The state argued that the order was an “judicial overreach”.
Tamil Nadu said the Madras HC order severely affected the state’s revenues and commercial activity. All liquor retail in Tamil Nadu is owned by TASMAC and the order of the high court would effectively stall sales of alcohol in the state, the plea said.