SC stays Madras HC order stopping liquor sales in State

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on May 15, 2020

Liquor sale in Tamil Nadu (except Chennai and Tiruvallur police jurisdiction) will resume from Saturday after the Supreme Court stayed an order of the Madras High Court. On May 8, the High Court ordered all State-run Tasmac liquor shops to be shut down till end of lockdown on May 17 on complaints regarding violation of physical distancing in many places.

However, today a Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao; SK Kaul and BR Gavai while staying the Madras High Court order issued notice to the respondents (PIL petitioners) asking them to respond within four weeks.

The reopening of the Tasmac shops on May 7 saw a record sales of nearly ₹170 crore. The second day saw a collection of nearly ₹140 crore. However, the reopening drew largescale protests in fear that it could spread the Coronavirus.

A press release from Tasmac said that the liquor sale will be between 10 am and 5 pm. The sale will be based on a token system, with each shop allowed to give only 500 tokens a day.

The Retailers Association of India has on its part has submitted a request to the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for opening of economic activities with necessary safety measures in Green and Orange Zones to allow for the retail industry in the State to function.

In a separate submission, it has also requested the State Government to allow for economic activities with necessary safety measures at malls in the Green and Orange Zones other than containment zones.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government offices will function six days a week from May 18. While ensuring social distancing, the offices will function with half the workforce at any given point of time (from the present 33 per cent), according to a Government Order.

In addition, to compensate the working hours already lost (due to lockdown), the government has directed that a system of six-day week with present office timing be brought in to force.

In the start of a week, the first batch will work on Monday and Tuesday, and the second batch will work on Wednesday and Thursday followed by the first batch on Friday and Saturday. In the subsequent week, the second batch will start work on Monday and Tuesday, and the chain will continue.

All Group A officers, and all head of offices will attend office on all working days, the Order said.

Published on May 15, 2020

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