The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an order of the Madras High Court shutting down state-run liquor shops in Tamil Nadu over violation of social distancing norms. A bench of justices L Nageshwara Rao, SK Kaul and BR Gavai gave a stay on the order after the state government owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation appealed against the HC’s verdict. The state called it an act of ‘judicial overreach’.
The state counsel argued that the shutting of shops was leading to revenue loss for the state-owned enterprise and that the online sale and home delivery as suggested by the high court was not feasible in many parts of the state. The high court had ordered the closure of shops after a petition challenged the same. The court in its order observed that the long queues outside the liquor shops were leading to social distancing norms being broken and it had suggested that the government look at online and home delivery of liquor.
The Centre had allowed for sale of liquor in many parts of the country after it was banned following a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid19 in the country.