The Madras High Court on Friday ordered immediate shut down of alcohol shops across Tamil Nadu amid rising number of coronavirus cases in the state. The high court was hearing a petition by actor-politician Kamal Haasan's political party Makkal Needhi Maiyam, CNBC TV-18 reported. However, the court subsequently allowed online sale of liquor in the state, the report added.
It comes days after the central government allowed sale of alcohol across the country, barring containment zones. As per the government order, only standalone shops will be allowed to sell liquor; malls or liquor shops in shopping complexes will remain closed. It prompted people to throng liquor shops in huge numbers, flouting social distancing norms.
Earlier, the Supreme Court today observed that the state should consider online sales and home delivery of liquor to maintain social distancing norms amid ongoing coronavirus lockdown. The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to pass any orders on public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction from the court declaring the new guidelines dated May 01, 2020 by the central government as unconstitutional, null and void as these allow sales through direct contact amid lockdown.
"We will not pass any order but the states should consider indirect sale/home delivery of liquor to maintain social distancing norms and standards," Justice Ashok Bhushan said while disposing of the petition.