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Madras HC says govt too responsible for alcohol-related offences

Madras HC says govt too responsible for alcohol-related offences

Chennai, Mar 27 (PTI) Expressing concern over the increase in crimes committed under the influence of alcohol in the state, the Madras High Court Wednesday said it wanted to hold the Tamil Nadu government as an abettor of such offences.Citing the rising instances of road accidents, sexual assaults and incidents of child abuse committed under the influence of alcohol, Justice Anand Venkatesh said the state government must take immediate steps to curb the menace."However, it is not within the control of this court and it is in the exclusive domain of the government...," the judge said. The court cannot continue to be a mute spectator, watching with dismay, the increase in criminal offences committed under the influence of alcohol, he added. "This court wants to make the government also responsible for each and every one of the offence that is committed under the influence of alcohol," he said."If the concerned department of the government is also made as an accused for having instigated or stimulated a person to commit a crime, ultimately at the time of imposing punishment, the court can order for sufficient compensation to the victim in exercise of its powers under Section 357 of Cr.PC," the judge added."This is the only way in which the government can be made to pay for its questionable policy which has resulted in the increasing crimes in the state," he said further.Noting that liquor vending was within the absolute control of the state government, the judge said TASMAC was a company owned by the state government which has a monopoly over wholesale and retail vending of alcohol beverages. "It controls IMFL trade in the state. As per the available data, TASMAC reported a turnover of Rs. 31,757 crore on IMFL products. This court is able to see an increase in commission of crimes due to the influence of alcohol," Justice Venkatesh said.The income earned through sale of liquor was the major contributor to the state's economy, he noted."The National Family Health Services indicates that close to half of the male population (47 per cent) in Tamil Nadu consumes liquor. However, this court is able to see an increase in commission of crimes due to the influence of alcohol," the judge said."... excessive drinking has the ability to lower inhibitions, impair a person's judgment and increase the risk of aggressive behaviours. Because of this, alcohol-related violence and crime rates are on the rise in this state," he added.The judge made the observations while granting anticipatory bail to two accused, apprehended in connection with the suicide of a labourer in Coimbatore district. There are 13 accused in the case who, like the deceased, are daily wage labourers.The man ended his life after allegedly having a quarrel with some of the accused under the influence of alcohol. The Alanthurai Police in Coimbatore registered a case against the accused under IPC section 306 (abetment of suicide). Of the 13, two have sought anticipatory bail. The judge posted the matter to April 4 for further hearing. PTI COR BN RHL