Asks govt. to file affidavit on bar licence

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the State government to file an affidavit on the bar licence issue while orally observing that the government was acting against its own policy of reducing liquor consumption.

The Bench comprising Justice Harun-Ul-Rasheed and Justice Anil K. Narendran made the observation when appeals filed by some bar hoteliers against a single judge’s order refusing to interfere in the bar licence issue came up for hearing. The court orally observed that the State government should reduce the number of beverages corporation’s outlets as well if it intended to bring down liquor consumption.

The government was allotting more bar licences under the guise of promoting tourism.

In fact, the government which was bound to implement its own policy was violating the same policy. The government should try to reduce liquor consumption in a time bound manner.

The government submitted that a decision on the renewal of licences would be taken based on the report of the Secretary (Taxes) on the recommendations of a one-man commission appointed to formulate the abakri policy parameters.

It was under the active consideration of the government and a policy decision would be taken soon.

The renewal of the licences would also be on the basis of the new abkari policy only. The State also sought four more weeks to file a counter affidavit in the case.

The Bench directed the government to file the counter affidavit by July 7. The petitioners alleged that the government was discriminating against them.

They were entitled to get their licences renewed, as their hotels had not been included on the list of the 418 sub-standard bars in the State.

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