Chennai, Dec 27 (BPNS)
The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) to provide its purchase details including the copies of contract that it had entered into with private distilleries and breweries by January 6th. As Tasmac did not heed the earlier directives of the court to provide details, Justice Anitha Suman ordered Tasmac to pay Rs 10,000 to the Cancer Institute at Adayar in Chennai as costs payable.
The court passed the orders following a writ petition filed by a Coimbatore-based advocate Loganathan after the Tamil Nadu Information Commission refused to answer his RTI query regarding the quantum of liquor procured from private distilleries and breweries.
The advocate submitted an application under the RTI Act in May 2015 seeking information for six queries related to the income generated by the government of Tamil Nadu through the sale of liquor during the period 2013-14 and 2014-15.
When there were no responses, he approached the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission in 2017. The Tasmac Public Information Officer responded to five of his six queries including staff payment, rental expenditure, and other administrative expenses. However, the PIO refused to respond to the question regarding the quantum of purchase from private distilleries and breweries and the amount spent citing that this would affect the commercial interests of the third parties involved.
Following this, the advocate moved to Madras High Court and a final hearing on the same was held on December 2, 2022, but the standing counsel of Tasmac opposed stating that the details could not be divulged.
The judge then directed Tasmac Managing Director to submit copies of the contract entered between the private distilleries and breweries with Tasmac and the volume procured as well as its price.
Even after this Tasmac did not submit the details in a sealed cover to the court and now justice Anitha Suman has ordered Tasmac to provide the details on January 6th without fail.