Supreme Court stays Madras HC orders to close Liquor shops in Tamil Nadu and imposition of conditions for selling liquor amid Lockdown

By Ishaan Seth

The Supreme Court today stayed all orders of the Madras High Court concerning the closure of TASMAC/liquor shops in Tamil Nadu amid the COVID-19 lockdown, including the orders on additional conditions for the sale of liquor that were imposed by the High Court on May 6.

The Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and BR Gavai  took up for hearing a batch of petitions challenging the two orders of the Madras High Court in relation to sale of liquor in Tamil Nadu during lockdown.

This included a challenge to May 8 High Court order directing the State to close all TASMAC/liquor vending stores in the State of Tamil Nadu amid lockdown citing to large scale violation of safety norms when these outlets were re-opened on May 7.

Also under challenge was previous order by the High Court a day earlier on May 6 which had laid down certain guidelines for allowing the sale of liquor.

After these orders were challenged, another Madras High Court Bench had also passed order on May 11 standing by the decision to order the closure of TASMAC shops in the state.

The Madras High Court orders have now been stayed by the Supreme Court, paving the way for the TASMAC shops in the State to re-open for liquor sale as per the modalities put in place by the State government.

The additional conditions imposed by the High Court on May 6 also stand stayed after today’s Supreme Court order.

The Court today observed that the Court may only ask the State to consider modalities for sale of liquor through online means and to consider home delivery. However the ultimate decision on how the sale has to be made remains on the State.

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