Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Liquor purchase allowed twice a week with a gap of 3 days, Bill should record Aadhaar: Madras HC guidelines for liquor sale amid COVID-19

Limits on alcohol purchase at a time

  • Adding to the prohibition on bulk sales, the Court has said that “not more than two bottles of 750 ml each (including wine, beer etc.) of any one type will be sold to one customer at a time."
  • Those paying through approved online modes may purchase two bottles a day as detailed above.
  • Those without mobile/smart phones or online payment apps can purchase only one bottle a day.
  • The customer cannot make purchase of liquor more than twice a week and with a minimum gap of three days.

Cash payment prohibited unless customer does not have digital pay facilities

  • To avoid unnecessary malpractices of over charging through cash payments and to encourage digital payment, the payment for liquor purchase should be made through approved E-payment applications like RuPay, Bhim, Google Pay etc. which can be made available to all smart phone holders and easily assumed in shops.
  • The Court added “the payment through these banking channels will not only keep a track and check on the sale of liquor, but is also likely to prevent those who do not intend to pay through known and approved sources.”
  • To encourage digital payment and online booking, the Court has also directed that those who book liquor and make the online payment will be permitted to buy up to two bottles of one type of liquor a day.
  • Those who do not make online payments and who do not book orders online, as they may not have such mobile phone facilities, will be allowed to purchase only one bottle of 750ml in a day based on the tokens issued to them.
  • Cash payment is prohibited save for those who do not have mobile facilities to make online payment. This was in view of a submission that there were over 7,000 MRP violations booked by the State in the last ten months.
  • The Court also noted that cash payment would not be a justified course of action in COVID-19 times.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu and the TASMAC authorities have also been directed to consider online methods of liquor sale with online payment, by employing the issuance of online tokens coupled with time slots for purchase. This was suggested as a measure to avoid unnecessary crowding in TASMAC/liquor outlets.

Aadhaar, name, address of purchaser to be recorded in Bill

  • The Bill of sale should include the “name, address and Aadhaar number” of the customer.
  • The Court has added that “if any sale is found to be made in violation of this direction and such fact is brought to the notice of this court, that shop in question will be immediately closed and will not be allowed to be reopened, except by the specific orders of the Court.”
Other directions include the Court's reiteration that bars attached to retail vending shops will not be permitted to function. The entry point to such bars will be closed and sealed. Drinking liquor in public places is prohibited.

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