TN's liquor policy does not violate norms: HC

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Chennai, Jul 17: ''The Tamil Nadu Government's liquor policy does not violate any statutory or Constitutional norms,'' the First Bench of Madras High Court observed while granting liberty to a Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK)Office-Bearer to make fresh representation to the government within two weeks regarding the policy.

If such a representation is made, the Prohibition and Excise Secretary should consider the same and dispose it of by a reasoned order within six weeks thereafter.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla recorded the Government Pleader's statement the government was already running 50 de-addiction centres in the State and it was thinking of starting similar facilities at more places in the near future.

The Bench disposed the writ petitions filed by Nirmala Raja, State President of the Pattali Mahalir Sangam, the women's wing of the PMK.

Ms Raja sought a writ directing the respondents ''Chief Secretary, Prohibition and Excise Secretary and TASMAC, represented by its Managing Director'' to desist from fixing targets to increase the sale of alcohol and IMFL in the State.

She also sought a direction to the authorities to set up de-addiction centres in every district and organise campaigns to create awareness of the evils of drinking.

The petitioner's counsel submitted that in Gujarat prohibition was being implemented. Such a principle could be followed in Tamil Nadu.

The Government Pleader submitted the sales targets had been framed by way of internal circulars which were issued to the department concerned. They were never advertised or brought to public knowledge. The sales targets had been fixed primarily to eradicate consumption of illicit liquor and augment public revenue.

The Bench said the matter involved was about framing of policy by the State Government.

It was difficult for the court to interfere unless the liquor policy was in clear violation of any statutory or Constitutional norm.

''We cannot see the policy, which has been framed by the State Government, violates any such norms.'' The petitioner had submitted she had made a representation to the authorities in March this year and it should be disposed of.

The Bench said the petitioner could make a fresh representation along with a copy of the court order.


UNI

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