A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu Government to close all retail wine shops on certain days in order to discourage people from consuming alcohol.

The First Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan on Thursday ordered notice to the State government returnable by October 10.

In the petition, S.Pradeepa, an advocate, submitted that alcohol consumption in developing countries like India had increased rapidly.

There were about 62.5 million consumers in the country. The per capita consumption had increased by 106.7 per cent over the past 25 years. Of late, consumers had developed a fondness for imported liquor and the market was crowded with foreign brands.

What was causing worry was that boys and girls were taking to liquor due to a highly disposable income, lack of parental supervision, changing societal norms and peer pressure.

On the eve of Diwali last year, TASMAC sold liquor worth a staggering Rs.250 crore. The sale was 25 per cent more compared to the previous year.

The petitioner said that most of the liquor sales was in the beginning of the month, weekend and on important holidays such as Diwali, Pongal, Tamil New Year, English New Year, Christmas and Easter. In order to discourage people from consuming alcohol, wine shops should be closed on the first and second and 30 or 31 of every month, all being salary days. Under the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, the State Government could grant holiday on a particular date to a shop or an establishment. He sent a representation to the authorities on August 20.

The petitioner prayed the court for a direction to the State government to close all TASMAC retail wine shops on the first and second, 30 or 31 of every month and on weekends, i.e. in the afternoon of Friday and Saturday and on the eve of Diwali, Pongal, Tamil New Year, English New Year, Christmas and Easter.

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