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SC allows liquor shops to reopen in Tamil Nadu

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New Delhi, May 15: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed Madras High Court order of closure of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu and has issued notice to petitioner and others.

While hearing the case, the court observed that it is for the state to take these calls. Next hearing will be after four weeks. The High Court had allowed the sale of liquor only through online system and home delivery.

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Noting that there were huge crowds before the shops and no social distancing was maintained, a bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Satyanarayana passed the order on a miscellaneous petition filed by advocate G Rajesh, besides a plaint from Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).

Take call on online sale of liquor by May 15: Delhi HC

The bench said there was total violation of its interim order issued on Wednesday, when it declined to stay a government order allowing resumption of sale of Liquor through the latter's outlets.

Besides the guidelines issued by the state government and the TASMAC, the sole retailer of liquor in Tamil Nadu were also violated, it said.

However, the court allowed online sale of liquor and door delivery till the lockdown to check spread of coronavirus was over.

The court had earlier issued guidelines for the sale of liquor through neighbourhood shops. It had ordered a six-feet gap between those queuing up to buy liquor, capping the sale to two bottles per person. It had also asked the state government to check the Aadhaar cards of buyers.

This would ensure that social distancing norms are followed, the court also said.

We will not issue orders, but states should consider home delivery or indirect sale of liquor to maintain social distancing, the Bench comprising, Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai said. After liquor stores were allowed to open, huge crowds were witnessed outside the stores.

Several shops had to be forcibly closed as social distancing norms had been flouted. In several places, the police also had to resort to lathicharge.

Opposition leaders DMK chief M K Stalin and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan had slammed the K Palanisamy government, saying the opening of liquor shops will lead to further spread of the virus.

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