Drastic drop in crime rate after liquor policy, Kerala MLA tells SC

DELHI, 23/11/2013: FILE photo: Supreme Court of India. New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Monica Tiwari

DELHI, 23/11/2013: FILE photo: Supreme Court of India. New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Monica Tiwari  

Congress MLA T.N. Prathapan told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that whether liquor should be regulated or not is not for the judiciary to decide, but is entirely a political issue.

Arguing before a Bench led by Justice Vikramjit Sen, Mr. Prathapan's advocate Kaleeswaram Raj said the policy decision to ban liquor was taken on the basis of the election manifesto. In submissions well-received by the court, Mr. Raj proceeded to buttress his claim by quoting from a study conducted by an NGO called Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), based in Thiruvananthapuram.

“For the first time in the past 30 years, alcohol sales in Kerala showed a reverse trend of around 9% in the financial year ended in March 2015 with total liquor sales dropping by 2,69,50,700 litres than the previous year against a past uniform trend of 12% to 67% annual growth,” he referred to the study in his oral submission.

Together with the decline of alcohol sales a substantial drop in hospitalisation, crimes, road accidents and domestic violence has also been witnessed in the Kerala society.

He further informed that the answer given by Minister on the floor of Assembly would also show that there was drastic reduction in the crime rate after closing of 418 sub-standard bar hotels.

The study report by ADIC as well as the Minister's answer on the floor of Assembly were received by the court on record.

Mr. Raj argued that when the Abkari Rules are amended on the basis of a policy decision by the government, it is not liable to be interfered with by the court.

“The reason is that every policy decision is a political decision. In a political decision making process, unlike administrative decision making process, the scope for judicial review is limited,” the lawyer submitted.

He submitted that submissions made by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that 4 star or 5 star status would be given to hotels only if there is a bar attached was incorrect.

Mr. Raj produced the new Tourism Regulation dated December 16, 2014 issued by Department of Tourism, indicating that 4 star or 5 star status can be given to hotels even if there is no bar attached.

“The election manifesto and promises are meant for their fulfilment. In the instant case, the government is justifying its new Abkari Policy on the basis of election manifesto which promised stage by stage reduction of liquor consumption of state. Therefore, the governments action needs to be only appreciated and endorsed by the court,” Mr. Raj submitted.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 9:23:12 AM |

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