Madras High Court allows TASMAC Liquor shops to sell two bottles of liquor once in three days to individuals

May 07, 2020

By Tanya Vashishta

To encourage digital payment and online booking of the purchase orders of the liquor, we further direct that those who book online and make inline digital payments through banking channels are permitted to buy up to two bottles of one type of liquor in a day. The others who do not make orders online payments and do not book orders online, as they do not have such mobile phone facility at all, will only be allowed to purchase only one bottle of 750 ml in a day, on the basis of tokens issued to them.”

The bench which passed the order consisted of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa  Sathyanarayana and also refused to put an ‘absolute ban’ on the sale of liquor.

The petitioners, B Ramkumar Adithyan had sought quashing of the order of government dated on may 4, 2020 whereby it was notified to the public that TASMAC liquor shops will be re-opened from 7th of may 2020.he showed the contention that the decision will throw the social distancing norms to the wind and will further increase the threat of corona virus.

While declining any such remedy, bench proceeded to impose the following supplementary guidelines, in addition to those issued by the government for sale of liquor during the lockdown:

Purchase Limits

  • Bulk sales will not be allowed;
  • Not more than two bottles of 750 ML each of liquor (including Beer, Wine, etc.) of any one type will be sold to one customer at a time;
  • The same customer cannot make such purchase of liquor more than twice in a week, with a minimum gap of three days.

Digital Payments

  • Sale of liquor against cash will be prohibited except where the buyer does not have mobile phone/ digital payment facility;
  • Shops not having “Digital payment faculties” may accept payments via E-payment applications like GPay, BHIM, etc. to enable the authorities to keep track of the sales and further to avoid overcharging;
  • Those who book liquor online and make digital payments through banking channels will be permitted to buy up to two bottles of one type of liquor in a day;
  • Those who do not make online payments/ do not book orders online will be allowed to purchase only one bottle of 750 ml in a day, on the basis of tokens.

Sale Bills

  • Bill will be issued for each sale made, recording the name, address and Aadhar card number of the person/ buyer concerned (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).

The bench clarified that:

“The exception to online booking of liquor can be only made to those persons who do not have the phone facility available to them and cannot book it online and for whom, separate counters foe issuance of tokens and sale of distribution of liquor bottles can be opened at the TASMAC shop in question, so that the social distancing or the physical distancing as per the norms prescribed and adopted.”

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