TIRUVANANTHAPURAM (Kerala), Dec 29, 2015:
The Supreme Court today upheld the the Kerala government’s liquor policy restricting sale of liquor to five-star hotels. The apex court dismissed a batch of petitions filed by hotel bars association challenging the new excise policy which prohibits the sale of liquor and three or four star hotels, reported the Times of India.
The court said the bars that were closed down in the state will not be reopened.
Kerala government welcomed the verdict. “We are happy with the verdict, it will reduce alcoholism in the state,” Kerala’s excise minister K Babu said.
The policy decision had led to the ouster of finance minister K M Mani from the cabinet over allegations of accepting bribe to reopen the bars that were shut down after the implementation of liquor policy, reported the Times of India.
The judgment was reserved on Aug 27 after long arguments spread over many days wherein the Kerala government, defending its policy, had said that those ousted from the business had no fundamental right to continue selling liquor at the bar.
The liquor policy restricting the sale and consumption of liquor at the bar benefited 24 five-star hotels in the state and it was upheld by the Kerala High Court on March 31.
Defending the ban on the service of liquor at the bar below the five star hotels, Kerala government had contended that the liquor was available on the retail outlets and people can buy and drink at their homes.