The government of Tamil Nadu will ban TASMAC

Madras HC puts the questions at the center, Tamil Nadu government on alcohol sales

The Madras High Court put a series of questions to the Center and the state government regarding the blocking of liquor sales to minors. (File photo)

Concern over drinking and crimes due to the Madras High Court on Monday put a series of questions to the center and the Tamil Nadu government on blocking alcohol sales to minors and opening more de-addiction centers, among others. Justice N Kirubakaran from the bank in Madurai posed the questions while on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar s claim that there has been a "giant leap" in domestic violence and rape cases in the state following the implementation of the alcohol ban.

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The judge who suo motu impleaded the Union Cabinet Secretary, Secretary of Law and Justice, Tamil Nadu, Home Secretary, Revenue and Commercial Secretary, DGP and Executive Director of the State of Tamil Nadu Marketing Corporation (TASMAC-State organization that sells liquor), urged the state government on what date it is planned to bring total ban according to a survey promise made before 2016 surveys.

The granting of conditional bail pending an applicant who was attacked by his own mother under the influence of alcohol, the judge said he kept the bail petition pending to deal with issues related to alcohol consumption, which he said was the main reason for the commission of criminal offenses. The government had announced it had taken a political decision to close the liquor shops in a gradual manner on June 19, 2016 and it had reduced opening hours by two hours.

"Now how many stores have closed after the first batch of 500 stores closed as per survey promise?" The judge asked state governments. The judge wanted to know when the next batch of deals would be closed and the date total ban would be implemented, the state as per poll promise.

The judge then proceeded to ask, "Is it a fact that crime is increasing due to alcohol in India and Tamil Nadu ... and how many alcohol-related criminal cases have been reported over the past 10 years." Referring to media reports of liquor sold to students and children, the judge asked, “Are the students addicted too ... Is it a fact that teenagers indulge in sex crimes against women and girls under the influence of alcohol ... Why is it not possible that Center to block the sale of alcohol to students? "

The judge asked, “why not the government open-de-addiction centers at the taluk level…” Justice Kirubakaran said over 78 lakh people in the state drank alcohol daily. Most of them were blue-collar workers or of lower and middle income. It was time, people were stopped from drinking, said the judge. Assistant Solicitor General G R Swaminathan took notice on behalf of the center, while Tamil Nadu attorney Muniaswamy took notice on behalf of the state governments.

Applicant P Sakthivel had allegedly stabbed his mother, injuring her, buying him money, liquor last December. The applicant said he had been in jail for more than 30 days and was on bail. The judge asked him to appear before the Shengottai Magistrate Department with a loan of Rs 10,000 and two guarantees to the satisfaction of JM. He is also supposed to report to the police station at 11 a.m. daily pending further orders.