The division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice V Parthiban who had expanded the scope of two criminal original petitions — one seeking to release 25 persons arrested for resorting to an agitation seeking closure of a Tasmac shop and another seeking closure of a Tasmac shop functioning in the basement of a residential apartment in Tirumullaivoyil — had put forth several questions to the State including the possibility of delaying the opening Tasmac shops to 2 pm instead of 12 noon.
However, when the plea came up for hearing on Monday, the counsel appearing for the government submitted that in other states liquor shops are opened even by 10 am. To this, the bench on observing that the government cannot afford to make such comparisons since the consumption of alcohol in other states was much lower while in Tamil Nadu it was high owing to poor regulations.
Also, the bench while referring to the election manifesto of the party in power, which had claimed that prohibition will be introduced in a phased manner, said as per the above, the Government closed 500 shops in 2016 and a similar number in 2017. But in 2018, even after a lapse of almost six months, no shops have been closed till date, the bench orally observed that Tasmac shops have become a meeting place for criminals to hatch conspiracies.
The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to July 2, when the government is expected to file its response on closure of bars in Tasmac shops.