In a massive development, the Supreme Court on Friday, allowed the reopening of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (TASMAC) liquor shops, throughout the state by striking down the Madras High Court's order. Soon after the announcement, the Tamil Nadu government has allowed the reopening TASMAC shops from Saturday. Sources have reported that 5 different coloured token system will be followed in all shops, but whether TASMAC shops will be opened in red zones is not yet clear.
On May 9, the Tamil Nadu government moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court's order closing the shops. Earlier on Friday, the Madras High Court ordered the closure of all TASMAC liquor shops after petitioners pointed out overcrowding and violation of social distancing norms at these places. This move was criticised by superstar Rajinikanth, who claimed that 'AIADMK's return to power will remain a dream if they reopen TASMAC'.
A special division bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana passed the interim order on a batch of pleas moved by various petitioners including actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam seeking liquor shops closure, only allowing online sales of liquor. On May 7, the same court had allowed reopening TASMAC shops after dismissing a PIL which was challenging the state government's decision. The high court has insisted that social distancing norms should be followed in every TASMAC shop. Tamil Nadu government has allowed the reopening of TASMAC shops across the state except in Chennai, Chengalpet, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts, apart from containment areas.
With the increase in number of COVID-19 cases, Tamil Nadu's Koyembedu cluster. While the Koyembedu market has been shifted to Thirumazhisai, the cases have affected other areas outside Chennai like Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. CM Edapaddi Palaniswami blamed the vegetable vendors and other workers carrying out activities in the market despite lockdown restrictions, while cases in the state soared to 9674 with 66 deaths.