Order granting permission to re-open liquor shops challenged in Madras HC

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of CJ. Indira Banerjee and Abdul Quddhose J., addressed A writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of Writ of Certiorari.

The writ petition was filed challenging a letter issued by the Commissioner, Prohibition and Excise Department, which directed the District Collectors to permit all F.L.I to F.L.II (Foreign Liquor) licensed shops within the limits of Municipal corporations, Municipalities and Town Panchayats.

The petition poses the question of whether the stated direction contravenes the judgment order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the State of Tamil Nadu v. K Balu ; (2017) 2 SCC 281.

Advocate General on behalf of the fourth respondent/TASMAC submitted that the order and judgment of the mentioned case of the Supreme Court in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Balu was modified in Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh; 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1079, in accordance to the modification in the latter case, municipal areas are said to be exempted. The order of the Supreme Court never stated that there is any prohibition on the licensed establishments within municipal areas.

However, after careful observation of the stated records and contentions, High Court clarified the intent of the modified order saying that the decision in every case has to be taken on a case to case basis and the State authorities will have to carry out the exercise of determining if any liquor shop was covered by the order of the Supreme Court in Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh; 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1079, therefore, it was held that the governments would have to take recourse to all relevant factors and the crux of the direction prohibiting the sale of liquor on National and State Highways.[ K. Balu v. State of  Tamil Nadu,2018 SCC OnLine Mad 1918, order decided on 28-04-2018]

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