IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
(Special Original Jurisdiction)
W.P.No: 7578 of 2020
S/o.Mr.R.Balakrishna Adityan & Mrs.Selvarathi,
No.563, Thoothukudi Road,
Tiruchendur – 628216,
Thoothukudi District …… Petitioner in Person
- Chief Secretary,
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Secretariat, St.George Fort,
Chennai – 600 009.
- Additional Chief Secretary,
Prohibition and Excise Department,
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Secretariat, St.George Fort,
Chennai – 600 009.
- Principal Secretary,
Health & Family Welfare Department,
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Secretariat, St.George Fort,
Chennai – 600 009.
- Director General of Police,
Tamil Nadu Police,
Mylapore, Chennai – 4.
- Managing Director,
Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Ltd,
CMDA Tower – II,
4th Floor, Gandhi Irvin Bridge Road,
Egmore, Chennai – 8. ……… Respondents
COMMON COUNTER AFFIDAVIT FILED BY THE 5th RESPONDENT
I, R. Kirlosh Kumar, Son of Thiru. Rajendran, aged about 43 years, functioning as Managing Director, Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited, 4th Floor, CMDA Tower – II, Egmore, Chennai–8, do hereby solemnly affirm and sincerely state as follows:-
- I submit that I am the Managing Director of TASMAC and 5th Respondent herein and I am fully acquainted with the facts of the case on perusal of records. I deny all the allegations mentioned in the Writ Petitions except those that are specifically admitted herein.
- It is submitted that the above writ petition, have been filed as public interest litigation against the Press Notification No.311 dated 04.05.2020 and quash the same as illegal and consequently, direct the respondents to open the fifth respondent Retail Liquor Selling Shops once Tamil Nadu become COVID-19 free State.
- At the outset, it is submitted that a similar petition was filed before The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in W.P. (C) No. 474/2020 under Article 32 of the Constitution, seeking to ban sale of liquor on the ground that such sale would lead to overcrowding and consequent possibility of spread of the corona virus. The Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the petition, and it was observed that
“ We are not inclined to entertain this petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The petition is dismissed.
However, it shall be open for the concerned State Government to consider non-direct sale including on-line sale/home delivery of liquor to facilitate social distancing. Pending application(s), if any, stands disposed of”
- In view of the above order, which was made under Article 32 of the Constitution, it is submitted the present petition would not be maintainable and is liable to be dismissed on that ground alone. It is respectfully submitted that the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is binding upon all courts in the country. Moreover, all the contentions raised in the above writ petitions have been considered in detail by the Hon’ble Division bench of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in W.P. (C) 3088 of 2020 and disposed of the Writ petitions by it’s orders dated 11-05-2020. For the sake of convenience, the relevant portions of the order are extracted below:
5.We have however inquired from the senior counsel for the petitioner, whether home delivery of alcohol can be equated with home delivery of food. From the news reports of conduct of patrons of alcohol, on reopening of liquor outlets after more than a month, it appears that home delivery of alcohol would be fraught with security and safety issues. The possibility of alcohol being snatched during transit cannot be ruled out. The possibility of home delivery of alcohol, distribution whereof till now is largely in the hands of State, would also increase the possibilities of adulteration of alcohol, also resulting in loss of life. It appears that transit of alcohol from home to home would have to be in the same manner and style as transit of cash between banks and between banks and ATMs.
- We are afraid that any delay on the part of the Central Government and the GNCTD can exacerbate the problem of crowding outside liquor shops and would defeat the purpose, inasmuch as more the delay, more will be the number of persons outside liquor shops, each day, who will come in close contact with each other, increasing the probability of spread of Covid-19. Moreover, it is not as if the problem is of a permanent nature, solution whereof can be devised at leisure; the problem is perhaps of a few days more inasmuch as once the patrons of alcohol are satisfied that there would be no further closure, the crowding outside liquor shops is likely to disappear.
- We have however, enquired from the counsels for Central Government and GNCTD, why all the liquor vends already existing in the city cannot be opened up and which will automatically reduce crowding outside the limited number of shops which are open at present.
- The Counsels state that they will look into the said aspect.
- The counsel for the GNCTD has also read out to us the various instructions which have already been issued to the liquor vendors which have been opened, to ensure social distancing. It is also informed that separate queues for those approaching to purchase liquor along with the e-tokens and those approaching without e-tokens have been directed to be maintained. On enquiry, why sale only against e-tokens cannot be directed, it is stated that all purchasers may not have access to internet. The possibility of permitting opening up of cyber cafes across Delhi wherefrom e-tokens can be applied, has also been discussed.
- We however are of the opinion that the instructions as have been read out to us, are without regard to the location and position of the liquor vends. It appears to us that considering the location and position of most of the liquor vends in the city, it is not possible to maintain social distancing as has been prescribed and the instructions stated to have been issued will not serve any purpose and will remain on paper only. Most of the liquor vends open on and have delivery counter facing the road and do not permit entry of any person therein except the staff deployed for selling. The roads on which the vends are situated also do not permit of any prescribed social distancing to be maintained.”
- With these preliminary submissions this Respondent respectfully submits that the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, vide it’s order dated 01-05-2020, has issued new guidelines under the National Disaster Management Act 2005. In these guidelines, the Government of India relaxed various restrictions and allowed various activities with certain conditions. In public places (other than the containment zones) it is permitted for shops to sell liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc ensuring minimum six feet distance from each other, and also ensure that not more than 5 persons are present at one time at the shop. The said permission applies to all the 3 areas of Red, Orange, Green zones, except Containment zones.
Pursuant to the said Order, most of the States have commenced retail liquor sales and the details are furnished below:-
SL.NO. NAME OF THE STATE DESCRIPTION
1 Andhra Pradesh Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
2 Karnataka Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
3 Telangana Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
4 West Bengal Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
5 Madhya Pradesh Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
6 Maharashtra Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed except in Mumbai city and suburban areas.
7 Rajasthan Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
8 Chandigarh Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
9 Haryana Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
10 New Delhi Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
11 Uttar Pradesh Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
12 Himachal Pradesh Sale of liquor in retail shops allowed.
As far as our State is concern the Government has ordered to open the TASMAC shops except the shops located in malls, market complexes, in the containment zones and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Greater Chennai (even if it falls outside the Containment area), even though there is no restriction in the Government of India order dated May 01, 2020, the Government has not permitted the opening the TASMAC shops within Greater Chennai Police limit. It is further submitted that the Government issued a Press Release No. 311 dated 04.05.2020 and 05.05.2020 to that effect. The said press release was challenged in this writ petition and none of the W.P’s challenged the Union Of India Order dated 01.05.2020 or the Government of Tamil nadu order issued pursuant thereto.
- It is submitted that pursuant to the Press Release the Government issued G.O. (Ms.) No. 223, Revenue and Disaster Management (DM-II) Department, dated. 05.05.2020, by which Government has permitted TASMAC to open its Liquor Retail Vending shops from 07.05.2020 and to function from 10.00 AM to 05.00 PM (except the shops in malls, market complexes, in the containment zones and in areas falling within the jurisdiction of Greater Chennai police) subject to the following conditions till the lockdown ends:
a) There should not be any crowd in the Liquor Retail Vending shops.
b) The social distance of 6 feet between two customers should be maintained.
c) Not more than five persons to be allowed in the shop at a time.
d) The shop timings will be from 10.00 AM to 05.00 PM.
e) Necessary security and safety measures need to be done in all the Liquor Retail Vending shops.
f) In each and every Liquor Retail Vending shops additional personnel need to be deployed so as to avoid crowding the shops.
- It is submitted that in view of the above said G.O, the Managing Director TASMAC has in his proceedings dated 5th May, 2020 has given instructions to all district managers and senior regional managers of TASMAC which need to be followed (apart from the conditions mentioned in the Government order). They were also instructed to form teams to ensure that all the instructions mentioned are being followed. The instructions in Annexure I alone are extracted below:-
Annexure – I
Instructions to be followed at the Retail Vending shops
a) All shop personnel should be present in the shops (Other than those who reside in containment zone). Wherever shops are not to be opened, those staff can also be redeployed in other shops which are to be opened.
b) Shop Personnel must wear triple layer masks and sanitize their hands at the periodic intervals while working.
c) If there’s sufficient space, sales can be done from two counters at the shop window, there should be at least 6 feet distance between the two counters. If sufficient space is not available then sales must be done only from one counter.
d) Only medically fit persons, without any co-morbid conditions and below 55 years of age should be called for work.
e) The barricading with wooden sticks should be done for regulating the customers in front of the shops. Circles must be drawn within the barricades with diameter of 1 feet with 6 feet distance between each circles. The barricading should be a single line barricade. Customers should come in single line within the barricade. The barricading should be for at least 200 feet, where space is not available barricading can be done for lesser length but it should be ensured that circles are drawn with diameter of 1 feet with 6 feet distance between each circle even beyond the barricade.
f) The shops should be sanitized by using user friendly disinfectant liquid at least five times during the working hours.
g) Apart from sanitizing the shops with disinfectant liquid, the shop personnel should spray the bleaching powder outside the shops at least twice daily.
h) Not more than 5 persons to be allowed in the shop at the same time.
i) Shop personnel while sanitizing the shops should wear triple layer masks. All the shop personnel need to wear the disposable hand gloves and also wear triple layer masks while attending to the customers.
j) Minimum two personnel per shop should stand outside of the shop to regulate the customers for ensuring the social distance.
k) These shop personnel should also take care that there are no crowding nearby TASMAC shops and also to ensure that no customers are drinking liquor in the public places.
l) The Bars attached to the Retail Vending shops are not permitted to function. The District Manager and shop personnel should ensure that all entry points to the bars attached to the Retail Vending shops are closed and sealed properly.
m) One person must be engaged through an outsourcing agency to stand at the entrance of the shop with hand sanitizer to be used for all customers before they make the purchase.
n) Sales to be done only to customers who are wearing a mask.
o) No Bulk sales to be done.
p) Token system to be followed for regulating crowds. Timings must be mentioned in the tokens to ensure that not many persons gather in front of shops. No token should be given after 4 pm and shops should compulsorily be closed at 5pm.
q) Public address system should be hired by the District managers for all shops where more crowds are expected especially in urban areas.
r) District mangers may temporarily hire additional staff through outsourcing agency to ensure that above instructions are followed and for proper crowd control.
- It is submitted that the Director General of Police Chennai, issued a fax message on 06-05-2020 to all the Commissioners of Police (Except Chennai) and all the Superintendents of Police in Districts instructing to provide adequate bandobust to all the TASMAC shops going to re-open from 07.05.2020 and to ensure proper social distance and maintenance of law and Order. In addition the Additional Director General of Police (Enforcement) issued a instructions to all the Superintendents of Police and the Commissioners of Police in all districts to provide bandobast arrangements to all the TASMAC shops to manage the crowds, through his letter C No. 846/ADGP ENFT/CNI dated 06.05.2020
- It is submitted that on 06.05.2020 the above writ petition came up for hearing and the Hon’ble Division bench of this Hon’ble Court issued a direction to permit the TASMAC to open the shops with the following additional conditions mentioned in para 15 clause (ii) to (ix) as follows
“(ii) Besides the aforesaid Guidelines and Restrictions, we are of the opinion that following further restrictions deserve to be imposed on the sale of liquor to TASMAC shops in the areas allowed, in addition to the conditions contained in the aforesaid two Government notifications/Guidelines dated 05.05.2020.
(a) Item 15 of the Guidelines issued by the TASMAC says that “No Bulk sales to be done”. Since the word “Bulk” is not defined or clarified in the said Guidelines and Instructions (but it seems to be equivalent to 0.219 Gallon as per Google), we consider it appropriate to direct that not more than two bottles of 750 ML each of liquor (including Beer, Wine, etc.) of any one type and which is the usual bottle size as stated by the learned Advocate General, will be sold to one customer at a time. The same customer cannot make such purchase of liquor more than twice in a week, with a minimum gap of three days.
(b) The TASMAC shop in question, which is allowed to undertake such sale as per the Notifications dated 05.05.2020 will immediately issue “Bill for such sale”, noting the name, address and Aadhar card number of the person/buyer concerned. If any sale is found to be made in violation of this direction and such fact is brought to the notice of this Court, that shop in question will be immediately closed and will not be allowed to be reopened, except by the specific orders of the Court.
(c) Vide Item No.11 and Item No.12 of the Instructions dated 05.05.2020 also which indicate that the Bars attached to the Retail Vending shops will not be permitted to function and the entry point to such Bars attached to Retail Vending shops will be closed and sealed properly and drinking liquor in public places will be prohibited. This appears to be issued for not allowing the customers to consume the liquor at the shop itself or in the Bar attached thereto or any other public place.
We, therefore, direct that to maintain properly the law and order and to avoid any untoward incident, no purchaser of liquor shall be allowed to consume the liquor at or nearby the shop in question or at any other public place and the police personnel deployed in duty for such bandobust and such consumption of liquor can take place only in the private premises of the person(s) concerned.
(iii) Though the learned Advocate General has submitted that Digital payment facility for purchase of liquor is available in some of the TASMAC shops, but they are mainly situated in the City areas, where presently the sale of liquor is not going to start from 07.05.2020, we are of the opinion that to avoid unnecessary malpractice of over charging through cash payments and to encourage digital payment as per the avowed Government Policy, we direct that the payment for purchase of liquor should be made through approved E-payment applications like RuPay, Bhim, Google Pay, etc. which can be made available on all the smart phone holders and which can easily be assumed to be available with TASMAC shop owners/Managers and which applications can be downloaded and the payment through these banking channels will not only keep a track and check on the sale of liquor, but is also likely to prevent those who do not intend to pay through known and approved sources, but purchase and consuming liquor free from all restriction. This direction, in our opinion, can meet the ends of not only starting this economic activity through recorded sources of payments and business, but will also regulate the business to some extent and avoid unnecessary increase in offences of excess MRP charging, etc. and then booking cases, trials, etc.
(iv) To encourage digital payment and online booking of the purchase orders of the liquor, we further direct that those who book online and make online digital payments through banking channels are permitted to buy up to two bottles of one type of liquor in a day. The others who do not make online payments and do not book orders online, as they may not have such mobile phone facility at all, will be allowed to purchase only one bottle of 750 ml in a day, on the basis of tokens issued to them, read with conditions stipulated in Clause (ii)(a) above.
(v) The learned Advocate General has given the data that approximately 7117 cases in the last ten months had to be booked for alleged MRP violations. Therefore, to prevent this, we are of the opinion that sale of liquor on cash payment particularly in Covid times is not a justified course of action and thus, we prohibit the sale of liquor against cash under the orders issued by the State Government, namely G.O.Ms.No.223 dated 05.05.2020, except in the cases indicated above in Clause (iv) of this order.
(vi) The learned Advocate General also submits about issuance of Tokens with time slots given depending upon the age group of the consumers. We specifically requested the Advocate General to take instructions in the matter as to whether online booking of tokens for sale of liquor through TASMAC shops can be insisted upon or not. The issuance of tokens at the shops itself at the same time, when the sale of liquor is taking place is likely to cause a serious threat to the social distancing or physical distancing norm, which is being insisted upon by the Central Government and the State Governments and Medical Authorities. Therefore, we direct that the State and TASMAC should consider immediately the method of sale of liquors online and upon online payment, Tokens can be issued online to the persons concerned with the time slots given on the same, when the customer can go and collect his liquor bottles already sold to him on the Token produced by him or shown by him to the concerned sales persons. This will largely avoid unnecessary crowding at the TASMAC shops which are allowed to restart such business from 07.05.2020. The exception to online booking for liquor can be made only for those persons who do not have the phone facility available to them and cannot book it online and for whom, separate counters for issuance of Tokens and sale of distribution of liquor bottles can be opened at the TASMAC shop in question, so that the social distancing or physical distancing as per the norms prescribed and adopted by the State Government can be strictly maintained.
(vii) No sale of liquor without Sale Bills shall be made by any TASMAC shop and if any complaint is received in this regard by this Court, the Court may direct the permanent closure of such TASMAC shop after making necessary enquiry in the matter.
(viii) With the aforesaid restrictions and the restrictions already stipulated in the aforesaid Government notifications/Guidelines dated 05.05.2020, we are of the opinion that we cannot totally prohibit the re- opening of the TASMAC shops for sale of Liquors, including Beer, Wine, etc. in the State as we have already dismissed one such Public Interest Litigation in WP No.7565 of 2020 on 04.05.2020, it being a State policy matter and we are also not inclined to stay or defer the said impugned decision of the State Government dated 05.05.2020 to reopen the TASMAC shops in specified areas from 07.05.2020 until 17.05.2020 or even if the date of the lockdown is further extended by the Central Government or the State Government depending upon the emerging situation of COVID-19 disease, as we feel that the balance of revival of economic activity and management of Covid related disease has to be maintained by the State Authorities and it is not within the domain of the Court to interfere with the same.
(ix) The State will constantly monitor the sale of liquor in terms of the aforesaid restrictions depending upon the change of declaration of zones from Green to Orange, Orange to Red and Red to Containment zones and opening or closing of TASMAC shops in terms of the aforesaid restrictions will also be governed by the declaration of the respective areas in different zones by the competent authority, on day-to-day basis
- It is submitted that an another writ petition was filed by one Mr. Rajesh Advocate, in W.P. 7589 of 2020 and prayed a WRIT OF MANDAMUS restraining the Respondents from opening the state-run liquor outlets (TASMAC outlets) in the State of Tamil Nadu till such time the Covid – 19 Lockdown is in force, was came up for admission on 07.05.2020 and the same was tagged along with the WP No. 7578/2020 and adjourned to 14.05.2020.
- It is submitted that the Managing Director of TASMAC has issued a letter in Rc.No.R3/2093/2020 dated 06.05.2020 addressed to all the Senior Regional Managers and District Managers of TASMAC incorporating the additional directions as stipulated in this Order dated 06.05.2020 of Hon’ble High Court in the W.P. No.7578 of 2020. The Managing Director of TASMAC instructed the Senior Regional Managers and District Managers to adhere to the conditions mentioned in the order.
- It is submitted that the Managing Director of TASMAC filed an interim application bearing WMP No. 8928/2020 in W.P. 7578 of 2020 seeking for a modification of the conditions mentioned in 15(ii)(b) and 15(iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) Order dated 06.05.2020. It is further submitted that on 08.05.2020, another interim application bearing W.M.P. 8929 of 2020 in W.P. 7589 of 2020 was moved by Mr. Rajesh in his writ petition seeking a direction to close the TASMAC shops across the state of Tamil Nadu until online sale/ e-coupon systems are implemented by TASMAC to avoid overcrowding at the liquor shops.
- It is further submitted that the Hon’ble Division Bench while hearing the modification petition along with other miscellaneous petitions passed a common order on 08.05.2020 and directed to close all the TASMAC shops with immediate effect for the reason that the conditions stipulated in para 15 of the order dated 06.05.2020 had not been complied with, and further directed to resort only to home delivery of liquor by indirect sale during the lockdown period. As against the above said Orders dated 06.05.2020 as well as 08.05.2020 The Government and this respondent filed a SLP before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and the same is yet to be taken up for hearing.
- This Respondent further submits that as per the directions issued in the Order made in W.P. 7578 of 2020 dated 06.05.2020 in para 15 (ii) (a) not more than 2 bottles of 750 ml each of liquor of any one type to be sold to one customer at a time. It is submitted that the Government while exercising the powers under section 54 read with clause 3 of sub section (1) of Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu prohibition Act, 1937 (Tamil Nadu Act X of 1937) has issued rules called the Tamil Nadu Liquor (Possession for Personal Consumption) Rules, 1996 where it has been stated that no person will possess liquor in excess of the quantity specified in the corresponding entries in column (2):
Indian Made Foreign Spirits 4.5
Imported Foreign Liquor 4.5
Hence, anything in excess of the quantity specified for possession for personal consumption would constitute Bulk Sales.
- It is humbly submitted that the directions issued by the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court in para 15 (ii)(b) of the Order in W.P. No. 7578 of 2020 dated 06.05.2020, that requires the purchaser to furnish his Aadhar details in order to purchase liquor amounts to violation of Right to Privacy as per Judgment of nine Judges Constitutional Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court in K. S. Puttasamy v. Union Of India report in 2017 (10) SCC page 1. It would also exclude those who have opted lawfully not to enrolled for an Aadhar card.
- Further, it is submitted that the alternative mode of payment through point of sale machines are at present available only 850 out of 5338 TASMAC shops (16 % approximately throughout the state, most of these shops are in Chennai region) and the digital payment systems are available only 58 shops (1 % of the total shops). It is submitted that the TASMAC has taken necessary steps to initiate the Digital payment facility. However, the Digital payment facility cannot be enabled overnight, the bank accounts need to be mapped to the app, agreement needs to be entered (it needs to be vetted by Board of TASMAC and Govt), contingencies like request for refunds, etc need to be worked out, a list of Frequently Asked Questions need to be addressed between the service provider and TASMAC, the mobile numbers of all the staff working in the shop needs to be linked to the app, the staff need to be trained, user test needs to be done and after satisfying all these conditions only can TASMAC launch the service. It is submitted that the TASMAC has called a meeting during January 2020, with all the bankers to install the device for acceptance of payment through electronic mode such as Debit Card/ Credit card, UPI and UPI QR Code in the all the retail vending shop throughout Tamil Nadu. In the meeting the bankers informed that installation of these devices attract monthly rental charges besides Merchant Discount Rate (MDR Charges). It is submitted that as per Section 3(1) of the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act, 1998, “No procurement shall be made by the procuring entity except by tender”. Hence TASMAC has called for sealed Tender from Scheduled Commercial Banks/ System provider for Supply and installation of Point of Sale machines and facilitation of various electronic modes of payment such as:
a) Debit Card powered by Rupay
b) Unified payment Interface (UPI)(BHIM-UPI)
c) UPI Quick response code (UPI QR Code) (BHIM-UPI QR Code)
It is further submitted that originally the due date for submission of filled in tender document was fixed on 07.04.2020 and due to due to lock down announced by the Government of India, the last date for submission of tender was extended to 08.05.2020. Since the lock down was further extended by Government upto 17.05.2020, the due date for submission of filled in tender documents from the prospective tenderers is extended to 08.06.2020. TASMAC has to follow the tender process for selecting the service provider. Hence TASMAC would require time till 30th September, 2020 to complete the installation of Point of Sale machines and facilitation of various electronic modes of payment.
- It is submitted that the averments in para 13 of the affidavit filed in support of the Writ petition in W.P.No.7589 of 2020 states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published that alcohol may put people at increased risk for the corona virus. It is submitted that the Article issued by WHO is advisory in nature and it is only to clarify the misconception that prevailed among the people that consumption of alcohol would cure from the dreaded corona virus. It is submitted that in the above-said Article, nowhere it has been mentioned as “Guidelines”.
- It is further submitted that overcrowding at certain shops is something that all states have faced when re-opening their liquor stores after 41 days of lockdown which these states have regulated effectively by police action in controlling the crowds and shutting down the affected shops which was also done in the present case, TASMAC has also stopped sales at 12 (Twelve) such shops where overcrowding was reported. TASMAC has printed tokens to ensure that only limited number of persons are present in the queue. A total of only 500 tokens is proposed to be issued per day (approximately 70 tokens per hour) in each of the retail vending shops. Any persons in excess of 500 numbers would be given tokens with time slot for the next day and sent back. This is done to ensure that there’s no overcrowding and to maintain the social distance.
- It is further submitted that the identical prayers were made before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in W.P (c) 3088 of 2020 etc, and the Hon’ble Court in it’s order dated 11.05.2020, observed that the matter of on-line sale liquor required an amendment in the rules framed under Excise Acts. They have also highlighted the difficulties in attempting home delivery of liquor and rejected the submission and suggestions made by the petitioners since it is the exclusive domain of the Executive and the same was extracted in para 19 and 20 as follows:
“19. Though we also do not intend to issue any directions as sought in these petitions, inasmuch as the Courts are not equipped to decide such like matters and which are in the exclusive domain of the Executive but have heard the counsels and recorded what has transpired in the hearing, as it is felt that the GNCTD and the Central Government, which are informed to be at the stage of taking a decision, take such decision with inputs from what has transpired during the hearing and to accept such of the suggestions which may be found to be workable.
- The petitions are therefore disposed of, though without granting reliefs claimed but beseeching the GNCTD and the Central Government to take a decision after considering the suggestions made during the hearing, but at the earliest so that more damage than has already been done is not caused and so that the decision taken, serves the need of the hour.”
In these circumstances it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to dismiss the above writ petitions as devoid of merits and pass such other suitable order/orders as deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case and thus render justice.
Solemnly affirmed at Chennai
This 13th day of May 2020 and BEFORE ME
signed his name in my presence