The Tamil Nadu government moved the Supreme Court Saturday against an order passed by the Madras High Court directing closure of all government-run retail liquor outlets in the state till the lockdown was lifted.
A special division bench of of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana had passed an interim order on Friday after hearing a batch of petitions seeking closure of liquor shops as they were violating guidelines set to contain the spread of Covid-19.
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The HC had said the government could use online and home delivery models to sell liquor during the lockdown period.
Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), the government firm that sells liquor in the state, moved the apex court seeking sales through vends as well.
The AIADMK-led government reopened liquor stores across the state, except in Chennai and containment zones, on May 7 after a period of 43 days. It sold about 20 lakh litres of liquor that day, worth Rs 170 crore.
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On May 4, as the government announced the reopening of liquor stores, it had directed shops to implement strict social distancing norms and set a timing of 10 am to 5 pm. It had also promised to deploy additional staff to manage the crowd.
The HC, a day before stores were to reopen, refused to stay the government’s decision. It ordered that every person would be permitted to purchase only one bottle of liquor (750 ml) per day if payment was made by cash.