Directives issued for establishment/relocation of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court: In a case regarding the establishment and relocation of the TASMAC liquor shops, a Division Bench of the Court comprising K. Kalyanasundram and S.M. Subramaniam, JJ. issued guidelines to be kept in mind by the State while establishing or relocating the TASMAC shops.

The petitioner contended that the State, with a profit-motive, is establishing TASMAC shops near residential areas, schools, colleges and places of worship without due consideration to the directive principles which urge the State to maintain the public health. The respondents contended the State had not violated any rule under Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act, 1937 and that 3000 shops had to be relocated and a proposal for relocating them was dropped, wherever there were objections raised by the public.

The Court, while reiterating the importance of the directive principles, held that the directions issued by the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. K.Balu, (2017) 2 SCC 281 and the conditions enunciated under Section 8 of the The Tamil Nadu Liquor Retail Vending (In shops and Bars) Rules, 2003, should be strictly adhered to by the State, while relocating the TASMAC shops. The objections of the local people of that area and the undertaking given in paragraph 13 of the affidavit filed by the Managing Director, TASMAC should also be considered. The Court also went on to observe that the State Government should revisit this entire policy regarding prohibition according to the will and wish of the larger sector of the society of each area. [S. Sellasamy v. District Collector, Thiruvallur, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 1969, decided on 11-05-2017]

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