Drive safe: Madras HC stops denotification of highways to avoid booze ban
The Madras High court on Tuesday pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for moving to denotify all highways. Following the Supreme Court's order to shut down all liquor shops along state and national highways, the Tamil Nadu government proposed to denotify highways to ensure that they come under the purview of the municipal corporations. The Madras high court applied brakes on the government's move by staying the process. The order came on a plea filed by the DMK that accused the government of attempting to circumvent the Supreme Court's order.
Further, the court directed the government not to open any new liquor shops in the next three months. With this, the Madras high court essentially dashed Tamil Nadu government's hopes of reopening TASMAC shops along highways that were shut following the Supreme Court's order.
The Tamil Nadu government, which controls the liquor business in the state, is on the verge of losing more than Rs 10,000 crore following the Supreme Court order to close liquor shops along the state and national highways. The state in a bid to avoid losses wanted to denotify highways to ensure that liquor shops can remain open. The government told the court that by denotifying highways, the municipal corporations can carry out works, repairs faster without the centre's nod. This argument was rejected by the High court.
"It has been proposed to shift the state and national highways to the control of the municipalities so that various civic works, including water and sewage pipe laying operations along the highways, especially during a calamity, could be carried out immediately without awaiting permission from various state and central government departments," municipal administration Commissioner K Prakash had said in an order.