Chennai: The Madras High court on Friday February 4 ordered shutting down of bars attached with Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor outlets within six months citing that the law does not allow TASMAC to run bars attached with liquor shops.
Justice C. Saravanan dismissed a bunch of petitions submitted by the TASMAC bar owners association requesting for extension of tender period.
While dismissing the petition, the judge said that Sub Clause (1-A) and Section 17C( 1-B) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act of 1937 merely allows TASMAC to do wholesale and retail business but do not confer a right to confer privilege to third parties to render allied business of selling edibles or support service to collect used bottles from premises of a bar.
The judge also said that TASMAC has no authority to encourage consumption of alcohol in public places or so-called bars which is being auctioned for the highest bidders.
The court also said that the license to run a bar can vest with only the licensing authority namely the Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise. The judge also said that TASMAC is a mere wholesale and retail dealer and it cannot run a bar by itself directly or indirectly and that it cannot promote consumption of liquor by consumers and seen in public places.
Justice Saravanan in the order said: “The respondent TASMAC is therefore to take steps to close down the bars attached to TASMAC shops wherever licenses have been issued to a section of bidders within a period of six months.”
He also noted that according to Article 47 of the Constitution, states shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injuries to health.