The Madras High Court on Thursday restrained the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) from awarding the tenders to successful bidders for the purpose of collecting empty liquor bottles and selling eatables at bars attached to the State-run liquor shops.
Justice Anita Sumanth made it clear that Tasmac could proceed with the process of scrutinising the tenders as per its schedule. However, no tender should be awarded until a batch of writ petitions to quash the August 2 tender notification was decided on, she ordered.
The judge directed K. Sathishkumar and P. Arumugarajan, standing counsels for Tasmac, to take notice on the 31 writ petitions filed against the tender notification and make sure that a counter affidavit was filed by August 26. The cases were adjourned to August 30 for further hearing.
V. Senthurpandi, one of the writ petitioners, told the court that the Tasmac shops and bars were run on a peculiar model. Those who want to obtain the licence to sell eatables and collect empty bottles must either own or take on lease a piece of land in the locality concerned. Out of the total land, 200 to 200 sqft should be rented out to Tasmac for running the liquor shop. Tasmac would enter into a rental agreement for the shop alone and pay the monthly rent but a copy of that agreement would not be given to anyone. Further, a bar would be set up on the rest of the land.
The property owner or lessee would be allowed to collect empty liquor bottles and sell eatables at that bar, but there would not be any written agreement between Tasmac and the owner/lessee with respect to the bar. It was under these circumstances that the August 2 tender notification had been issued.
Claiming that no property owner/lessee would want to allow some other successful bidder to sell eatables and collect empty bottles from the Tasmac shop and bar situated on his land, the petitioner sought a direction to quash the notification and issue a consequential direction to extend his licence.