At a time when many states in the country are trying to strike a balance between earning massive revenues from alcohol sales and trying to ensure that uncontrolled crowds at retail outlets do not pose a threat to health and safety of citizens, the Madras High Court has allowed liquor Shops in Tamil Nadu to open .
Acting on a PIL, the Court observed that it “ cannot totally prohibit the re-opening of the TASMAC shops for sale of Liqours, including Beer, Wine etc. in the State.” It was also ordered that the name, address and Aadhar Card number of the buyer be recorded in the bill.
The Court said that “if any sale is found to be made in violation of this direction and such fact is brought to the notice of this court, that shop in question will be immediately closed and will not be allowed to be reopened, except by the specific orders of the Court.” In addition to that, the timing of the shops has been limited to 10 am-5 pm and other directions such as avoiding bulk sales, maintenance of a token system and the installation of a public address system have also been issued.
The Madras High Court said further, “The balance of revival of economic activity and management of COVID related disease has to be maintained by the State Authorities and it is not within the domain of the Court to interfere with the same.” Nevertheless, the Court proceeded to issue strict guidelines regarding the sale of alcohol.
The Court decreed that an individual could only purchase alcohol twice a week with a minimum gap of three days in between. Furthermore, those paying online could purchase two bottles of 750 ml alcohol at a time while those paying through cash could purchase only one. The Madras High Court also mandated that payment be made through approved E-payment applications like RuPay, Bhim, Google Pay etc. and cash payment is to be made only when such facilities are not available.
The court ordered that that the time between 10 am-1 pm will be reserved for those above 50 years of age. Those between 40-50 years of age can by alcohol between 1 pm-3 pm and those under 40 will buy alcohol between 3 pm-5 pm. Action will be taken if anyone is found violating the guidelines issued by the Court.
-India Legal Bureau