Madras High Court on Thursday introduced new regulations regarding the sale of liquor in the state after the state government on May 4 permitted the sale of alcohol. The High Court verdict came after a petition was filed aimed at rejecting the state government's order to permit sales.
The Bench, led by Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa Sathyanaranana, rejected the plea to enforce a complete stoppage of the sales of liquor.
The Bench directed that bulk sales of liquor will not be allowed, and that not more than two bottles of 750ml of liquor of any type will be allowed to be sold and that one customer can purchase liquor only twice in a week, with a gap of three days between the purchases.
The High Court order further states, "We direct that the State and TASMAC should consider immediately the method of sale of liquors online and upon online payment, Tokens can be issued online to the persons concerned with the time slots given on the same, when the customer can go and collect his liquor bottles already sold to him on the Token produced by him or shown by him to the concerned salespersons. This will largely avoid unnecessary crowding at the TASMAC shops. he exception to online booking for liquor can be made only for those persons who do not have the phone facility available to them and cannot book it online and for whom, separate counters for issuance of Tokens and sale or distribution of liquor bottles can be opened at the TASMAC shop in question so that the social distancing or physical distancing as per the norms prescribed and adopted."
The state government's decision to allow the sale of liquor has been met with criticism, and the opposition parties have hit back at Eddapadi K Palaniswami's administration, accusing it of being callous.
On Monday evening, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin criticised the government and said that the reopening of TASMAC shops is a decision that will not help to stop the spread of coronavirus and that it is not the public's fault that state's revenues have fallen. Stalin said that it's a dangerous decision and that a government with concerns for the citizens would not have taken such a decision. Kamal Haasan similarly criticised the Tamil Nadu government.
DMK leaders, led by Stalin protested the decision by holding black flags, posters and wearing black shirts in their house.
On Tuesday, the state government partially reversed the decision and banned the opening of TASMAC shops in Chennai, but kept it open across the rest of the state.
The state government earned a whopping Rs 31,157 crores from the sale of liquor in 2018/19 and it is one of the major sources of revenue generation for the government.
Tamil Nadu is one of the worst affected states, with 4,829 cases of the virus and 35 deaths due to the virus.