New Delhi: In a major relief to the Tamil Nadu government, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered a stay on last week’s Madras High Court order, which directed closure of all state-run TASMAC liquor shops, and allowed only online sale, including home delivery, till May 17. Also Read - 'Forget About Coming to Power': Rajinikanth Warns Tamil Nadu Government Against Reopening TASMAC Shops
All other conditions, in addition to the main order, too, were stayed by the apex court. Also Read - Tamil Nadu Moves Supreme Court Against Madras High Court 's Order on Liquor Shops, Seeks Stay on it
The order to this effect was passed by a three-judge bench of the top court comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, SK Kaul and BR Gavai.
In its petition, moved last Saturday-a day after the High Court’s order-the state government had argued that a closure of liquor shops would lead to ‘grave’ revenue and commercial losses. Additionally, it had accused the High Court of ‘judicial overreach.’
In its plea, the Tamil Nadu government also highlighted that on the day of the said judgement by the Madras High Court, no less than the top court itself had dismissed a petition seeking closure of all liquor shops across the country.
Notably, the Madras High Court had passed its order on May 8, after hearing at least three petitions, including one by actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), seeking closure of liquor shops across the state.
Last week, social distancing norms were thrown aside after liquor shops opened in Tamil Nadu (as well as the country) after more than 40 days, having been shut since late March due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. This was in line with the directions of the Centre, which, on May 1, while extending the nationwide lockdown till May 17, also announced a series of relaxations.
These included, among others, allowing opening of standalone shops, including liquor stores from May 4.
With over 9,000 cases, Tamil Nadu has the third-highest COVID-19 tally in the country, after Maharashtra and Gujarat respectively.