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SC questions logic behind ‘liquor ban’ policy


The Supreme Court today questioned the logic behind Kerala government’s new liquor policy for limiting bar licences to only 5-star hotels as part of a move to implement total prohibition in the state in 10 years and agreed to examine it.

A bench of justices A R Dave and U U Lalit agreed to grant an urgent hearing on a plea of aggrieved owners of hotels and posted the case for tomorrow.

It asked the state government not to take any coercive step against them as the bars were directed to be shut down from tomorrow.

“What is the logic behind this? We don’t see any logic behind this,” the bench said.

A bunch of top lawyers including senior advocates Fali S Nariman, Ram Jethmalani, Rajeev Dhawan, C S Sunderam and Arvind Dattar, appearing for various hotels, made a strong plea to the court to stay the policy, saying it is discriminatory in nature.

They submitted that deadline for their bar licences will be revoked from midnight and urged the bench to take up the case for hearing urgently. They contended that their business would suffer badly and they have already made booking for tourists.

The bench, after a brief hearing, posted the case for tomorrow.

Under the new policy, the UDF government had last month decided to shut around 700 bars attached to hotels below five-star categories.

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