The Madras High Court today expressed "dissatisfaction" over shifting of state-run liquor shops to new places beyond 500 metres of highways instead of closing them permanently as per the Supreme Court order. Justices A Selvam and Athinathan of the Madurai bench of the high court expressed dismay while hearing pleas against opening of the liquor shops in new locations in Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Kanyakumari and Thanjavur districts. "The Supreme Court has asked to close all the wine shops located within 500 metres from highways on a permanent basis.
It did not ask you to shift the outlets. Why are you trying to shift them?" the judges asked the counsel. The bench also rejected the government counsel's plea that if local people did not allow them to open outlets in new localities, they will have to be opened only in jungles. The judges ordered "status quo" on opening new shops. There were media reports that sites had been selected (for shifting shops) to the outskirts of towns/villages, but a section of youth and people there were opposing opening of the new liquor shops. In some places, shops had been ransacked and new buildings razed to the ground, the reports had said.
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