The Tamil Nadu Government on Monday, April 24, 2023 announced that it had revoked its decision to grant special licences allowing the possession and serving of liquor in marriage halls and banquet halls, as well as on non-commercial premises such as those hosting household celebrations, functions and parties. The decision followed representations received by the government in this regard, according to an official press release.
The press release said special licences would be granted only for international/national summits, events, conferences, celebrations and festivals in convention centres and conference halls on commercial premises, and for international sports events in stadiums, only for the duration of such events. "A fresh notification has been issued on Monday," it said.
The government said the practice of issuing special licences for liquor was in vogue in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab.
The ruling DMK’s decision followed objections from various political parties, including some of its allies, which criticised the government specifically for its decision to grant special licences to marriage halls and households hosting celebrations, functions and parties.
Earlier in the day, Minister for Electricity, Excise, and Prohibition, V. Senthilbalaji told journalists in Coimbatore that the government would grant special licences to serve liquor only at the venues of international sports and similar events, and not in wedding halls.
Special licences would be provided if applications are made for the same during international sports events in the State, he said.
“There is a demand to allow the serving of liquor at the venue of IPL matches in Chennai, as is being done in other States, and hence, permission was given,” he said.
“The government will never permit the serving of liquor in wedding halls, as reported in a section of the media,” he said.
However, the official press release acknowledged that the original gazette notification dated March 18, 2023, included “marriage halls and other places” among the locations where liquor could be served.