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Close down liquor outlet near school immeidately, says HC

Madurai: Slamming the state-run TASMAC management and Virudhunagar Collector for locating a liquor shop very near a high school at Manneri in the district, the Madras High court today directed officials to immediately close it and shift the outlet to some other place.

Justices S.Nagamuthu and V S Ravi of the Madurai bench of the HC mgave the direction while allowing a PIL filed by one R Gopinath.

“What impact will it have on the children? It is a school where poor children, both boys and girls, study. There is a noon meal centre and the head master’s room is near the shop. Will the officials send their children to a school located near the liquor shop? Blood is boiling,” Justice Nagamuthu said.

The judges wondered how the administration had allowed the liquor shop to be located so close to the school and noted that photos submitted by the Advocate Commissioner showed that the children could see the shop as soon as they come out of the institution.

The judges declined the officials’ request for a day’s time to comply with the order and sought to know who would be responsibile if anything happens to a girl child tomorrow and directed it to be closed immediately.

They also referred to a slogan in the shop which said ‘drinking ruins body, home and life’ and wondered if it would not ruin the school also if it was located near the school.

The judges also ridiculed the argument of officials that the shop was 120 metres away from the entrance and 58.5 metres away from the school compound and said location of the shop was a clear violation of the rules and that they “are giving all sorts of defence for running the shop.”

The bench also appreciated the PIL litigant for having genuine public interest in mind while filing the case.