Kerala High Court tells Government to take an independent decision on liquor policy

Justice Devan Ramachandran made the clarification while closing a petition filed by Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran complaining that the Government had decided to open more liquor outlets allegedly under the cover of a High Court order to provide better facilities in liquor shops

The Kerala High Court on Thursday clarified that any decision by the State Government on the liquor policy would have to be taken independently on its own.

Justice Devan Ramachandran made the clarification while closing a petition filed by Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran complaining that the Government had decided to open more liquor outlets allegedly under the cover of a High Court order to provide better facilities in liquor shops.

The court observed that the court had not in any manner permitted or restrained the Government from taking a policy decision in this regard. The intention of the court when it had issued the directive to provide walk-in facilities at liquor shops was to ensure that long queues in front of the outlets were done away with.

Affront on dignity

Besides, the court wanted to ensure that the minds of the next generation were not polluted by seeing the long queues in front of liquor shops, which was an affront on the collective dignity of citizens, and to see that women and children were not prejudiced solely because a few citizens had exercised their right to buy liquor.

Mr. Sudheeran pointed out that the court order was being misinterpreted by the Government to legitimise opening of new outlets. Therefore, it had become necessary to clarify the intention of the court.

He said that the decision would have a drastic and direct impact on the consumption of liquor. It was an erroneous interpretation of the court order.

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