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On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu Government filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging a Madras High Court order.

Earlier, on Friday, the Madras HC had directed the closure of all state-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor shops in Tamil Nadu. Only online said of liquor, the Madras HC had said, was to be allowed amid the coronavirus outbreak. This came after chaos followed the opening of liquor shops in the state, and people ignored social distancing norms as they went to purchase alcohol.

TASMAC incidentally is a government firm that sells alcoholic beverages in the state.

Alongside Tamil Nadu, several other states too had earlier initiated an online process for purchase of alcohol amid the lockdown. The aim here is to reduce contact and ensure that the deadly virus is not spread further.

As per a PTI report, the appeal against the High Court order was filed by TASMAC. The organisation is seeking permission to sell liquor through vends, alongside online sales.

The high court order restraining counter-sale of liquor was passed on a miscellaneous petition filed by advocate G Rajesh, besides a plaint from the Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).

As the third phase of the lockdown began, the central government had announced some relaxations, especially in green and orange zones. In response to the same, the Tamil Nadu government had allowed retail liquor outlets to open after a 43 day hiatus. Reportedly, tipplers had even tried to travel to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in search of liquor. In these states, sales had resumed by May 4.

Tamil Nadu has so far recorded 6009 positive cases of the novel coronavirus. Of these, 40 people have passed away.

(With inputs from PTI)

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