In an order dated April 26, 2023, the Madras High Court issued a stay on the operation of the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Liquor (License and Permit) Rules, 1981, which allowed the consumption of liquor at national and international summits, events or conferences and “sports events of National/ International importance”. The amendment mentions the requirement of a special licence for possessing and serving liquor at conference halls, convention centres, and sports stadiums.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed before the Madras High Court by the President of the Lawyers Forum for Social Justice, Adv. K Balu. The petitioner contended that the amendment would result in a nuisance which law enforcement agencies cannot effectively control. Due to public backlash, the government order on March 18, 2023, which permitted liquor consumption at marriage halls, was withdrawn.
However, the Advocate General, R Shunmugasundaram, argued that the present case involves a matter of government policy and does not warrant court interference. The court issued the interim order ruling that the operation of the new amendment should stay until it issues further orders. And the next hearing date has been fixed on June 14, 2023.