The Madras High Court rejected a writ petition seeking an absolute ban on manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state of Tamil Nadu. The Petitioner, R. Dhanasekaran stated that as people have become used to not consuming liquor because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the government should use this opportunity to absolutely prohibit dealings in and consumption of alcohol referring to Article 47 of the Constitution of India.
Advocate General Mr.Vijay Narayan represented the state. He asserted that the State enacted its own law, named Madras Sale of Liquor Act, 1937. Afterwards, 2003 Rules are there for opening of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) shops to sell liquor. Added the Advocate General.
The division bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana heard the petition. Taking note of the contentions, the High Court held:
“The Court is not inclined to interfere with the matter of State Policy of opening or reopening of the State liquor shops at this point of time; since the Central Government has already indicated allowing re-opening of the shops in the present stage of COVID lockdown; and the State is likely to take a decision in this regard soon. Further, Article 47 of the Constitution of India is not an enforceable right of the petitioner and therefore, it does not give rise or any cause of action of the petitioner to seek any Mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Accordingly, we do not find any merit in the present writ petition”. Consequently, the court dismissed the writ petition.
Notably, Article 47 of the Constitution is a Directive Principle. It directs that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs; which are injurious to health except for medicinal purposes.