Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed
Tamil Nadu government to immediately shut down a state run
liquor shop, located in a commercial building and near a bus
shelter used by school children, observing that the "future
and safety of children are more important than TASMAC earning
revenue out of selling liquor".
Allowing a petition by Golden Enclave Owners Association
for a direction to Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Ltd
(TASMAC) to close its liquor shop-cum-bar situated in the
basement of the enclave in the city, Justice K Chandru said
closing one shop would not bring about any loss to the state
especially when its turn-over from liquor sales had already
crossed Rs 16,500 crore per annum.
The Judge said the state was running liquor shops despite
the Tamil Nadu Prohibitionh Act and Article 47 of the
Constitution by which the state had endeavoured "to bring
about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal
purposes, of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are
injurious to health".
He said keeping the interest of minor children studying in
five schools in the vicinity of the liquor shop and the
day-to-day hazards of going to the nearby bus stand, among
other thing, the court was obliged to close down the shop.
Submitting that the premises was not suited either for
running a liquor shop with or without a bar, the petitioner
said the commercial complex, housed about 40 offices and
shops, employing over 200 women alone.
Besides, there was a dance school on the second floor
teaching traditional dances.
The petitioner said there was also a risk of a fire
breaking out as eatables were being prepared in the basement
of the building.