LAWYERS MAKE SUBMISSIONS ON MAKING THE STATE AN ABETTOR IN CRIMES CAUSED BY DRUNKENNESS
Leading advocates advanced arguments before Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court on whether the State can be made an abettor in crimes arising out of drunken behaviour as it has a monopoly in the sale of liquor through its wholly owned Corporation – TASMAC. “I’m not interfering with policy decisions. I can operate only within the four corners of the law. And this is not a Writ Court. But I have come across several cases of murder where it is stated in the chargesheet that it was under the influence of alcohol. I am also a human being. That is why I invited advocates to give their views in open court.”
Senior Advocate N.L. Rajah contended that “a judicial order would help” as there was “no political will” to push for compensation to victims of such crimes.
Advocate Vijayaraghavan presented exhaustive research on the subject and submittec that a scheme can be devised for compensation to victims.
Advocate, Columnist, Author & Former Resident Editor of NDTV 24×7 Sanjay Pinto argued that like charity, many crimes also begin at home, with alcoholism being the proximate cause for domestic violence. Pinto asserted that the term “illegal ommission” in Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code on abetment must be read in conjunction with the State’s obligations under Articles 47, 39(a) and (f) of the Constitution on prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drinks, livelihood and moral and material abandonment of childhood and youth. Calling TASMAC a “Golden Goose” Pinto pointed out that in Tamil Nadu, the Managing Director of TASMAC is also the Commissioner of Prohibition! “It’s a case of the fence eating the crop!” he thundered, adding that “the doctrine of ‘Res Extra Commercium’ or ‘things beyond commerce’ has been upheld in a catena of decisions by the Supreme Court which has prioritised public health and well being and public health.” Pinto asked argued that “putting a bottle of alcohol in the hands of an already drunk and violent man is no different from placing a knife in the hands of an insane man.”
The Public Prosecutor of the Madras High Court A.Natarajan informed the court about moving a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court order. Justice Anand Venkatesh asked the senior law officer to suggest a scheme for compensation to victims. The matter was posted to the 25th April, 2019 for further hearing.