Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to pass within six weeks orders on a PIL seeking to revisit its prohibition policy and retail liquor vending rules on relocating or setting up of state-run TASMAC liquor shops or bars in residential areas.
The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, gave the directive on a PIL by K Balu, the president of the Advocates' Forum for Social Justice.
The petitioner submitted that the Tamil Nadu Liquor Retail Vending (in Shops and Bars) Rules do not stipulate any distance rule on location of liquor shops in residential areas.
He said Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) can locate retail vending shops next to a house, unmindful of the disturbance it might cause to families. So there should be some filters in locating the retail vending liquor shops and bars in residential areas, he said.
The petitioner said authorities do not consider objections by the people in the area in setting up the retail liquor shops and the bar attached with it. Any natural, spontaneous and public agitation against the location of liquor shops or bars is "ruthlessly" handled by police as if they have committed grave crimes, he contended.
"In a democracy functioning under the principles of 'of the people, by the people and for the people', this kind of
repression and registering criminal cases against the peaceful agitators is against fundamental rights," Balu said.
He submitted that the Bombay Prohibition Act provides for a space for objection from the public over opening of liquor shops and that the Tamil Nadu government can have no reservation in considering similar provisions in its existing prohibition policy.
Balu claimed that he sent a representation to the state government suggesting amending the rules on setting up liquor shops and bars in residential areas at par with the prohibition policy of the Maharashtra government
However, there was no response, he added.
Updated Date: Jan 06, 2018 10:25 AM