Officials proposed to open Tasmac outlet despite objections raised by villagers

The Madras High Court bench here has issued an order forbearing the Virudhunagar district manager of Tasmac from opening a liquor shop at Vadamalapuram village near Sivakasi.

“When the people of a locality are against the establishment of liquor shops, the democratically elected government should respect their wishes and consider them in proper perspective,” ruled a division bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass in their order.

The petitioner, T. Paul Raj, a resident of Vadamalapuram, filed the public interest litigation opposing the proposal of the district manager of Tasmac to open a liquor shop in the village. In his petition, Mr. Raj alleged that the officials proposed to open the Tasmac shop despite the objections raised by the villagers.

“The Vadamalapuram village panchayat had passed a resolution on July 1, 2013 requesting the district collector not to permit the opening of liquor shops in the village. The villagers sent a communication to the officials on July 16, 2013 objecting to the opening of a liquor shop in the village”, contended the petitioner’s counsel G.R. Swaminathan.

According to the counsel, there was a high school in the village, which was attended by girl students from six surrounding villages. Having a Tasmac shop in the village would be a hindrance to them, he contended.

The counsel appearing on behalf of Tasmac, M. Muniasamy, contended that establishing a liquor shop in Vadamalapuram village would fetch more income to the government.

“We are of the view that the views of the villagers and the resolution of the panchayat should be given due consideration by the district manager of Tasmac, whose sole intention, according to his submission, is to fetch more income to the government”, the judges observed in their order.

The authorities were bound to respect the ‘sentiment and views’ of the villagers, they further noted.

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