The Madras High Court today pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for making a wrong submission before the Supreme Court over the issue of sale of liquor in the state. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, pulled up the state government, a day after the apex court clarified that its order exempting from ban liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways running through municipal areas was applicable across the country. The Supreme Court made the clarification on an application by the Tamil Nadu government, which said that the Madras High court had advised it to do so. The High Court bench said that it had never advised the government to get a clarification and that it was only the government which sought clarification on the issue. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, yesterday said in the Supreme Court that the July 11 order was clear, but that a clarification was needed. "The High Court says municipal areas in the Supreme Court order means only areas in Punjab and not in Chennai.
The Chief Justice Bench of the High Court wants a clarification whether the exemption applies only to Chandigarh," Rohatgi said. The apex court, which had banned the sale of liquor within 500 meters of highways across the country, had on July 11 this year, relaxed the scope of its verdict and allowed liquor shops alongside highways in municipal areas on a petition filed with regard to Union Territory of Chandigarh. On November 6, Tamil Nadu government gave an undertaking in the Madras High Court that no fresh liquor shops would be permitted along highways within municipal areas in the state. The public interest litigation petition challenged a September 1 order of the state Prohibition and Central Excise Commissioner permitting licensed liquor establishments along highways within the municipal corporation limits. The Advocate General Vijay Narayan had also submitted that a clarification application was pending before the Supreme Court with regard to the ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways and the state was trying for an early hearing.
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