New Plea in Supreme Court against Madras HC Order Permitting Online Sale of Liquor

Case Name:  Seeman vs. Tamil Nadu State marketing corporation Ltd & ors.

Quorum: Hon’ble Dr. Justice Vineet Kothari and Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana

The SLP has been filed through Advocate K. Paari Vendhan against the High Court order dated May 8, whereby a division bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Satynarayana permitted online sale of liquor, taking note of huge crowd situation in TASMAC outlets selling alcohol bottles in retail.

As per the Petitioner, the impugned order is liable to be quashed as it is in direct contravention of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Direction of National Disaster Management Act on May 1, 2020, as per which e-commerce activities are permitted only for “essential items”, outside the contaminated zones. It is stated that liquor/ wine are not “essential Commodities” under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and hence, the impugned order is antithetical to public interest.

He has further argued that consuming Alcohol would lead to the severe health consequences, including increased risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe complications of COVID-19, as reported by the World Health Organization.

Most of the Public who came to the Wine Shops/ Outlets did not wear any masks and the Police Personals did not take any actions against these people,” the Petitioner submitted.

In view thereof, the Petitioner has sought that the impugned order be stayed, only qua the sale of Liquor through online and home delivery. The Petitioner is however in consensus with the other part of the impugned order regarding closure of liquor shops, stating that the same will let social distancing norms to prevail.

He has also prayed the court to impose exemplary cost on head of TASMAC, for causing irreparable loss to the Public and the Government which cost to be deposited in any appropriate fund preferably for the Destitute Widow Pension Scheme of State of Tamil Nadu.

By Priyanka of SPPU