Toddy is a very mild alcoholic beverage: Kerala

File photo of toddy tapped from a coconut farm in Palakkad district.

File photo of toddy tapped from a coconut farm in Palakkad district.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

SC considering whether highway proximity ban will cover shops selling it

Toddy is a “very mild alcoholic beverage” full of vitamins and used in traditional dishes, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court on Monday.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is considering whether toddy can be considered as liquor and toddy shops selling the beverage would be included in the nationwide ban on sale of alcohol within 500 metres of national and State highways.

The apex court asked the State government to file an affidavit within two weeks about the possibility of shifting toddy and liquor shops from the vicinity of highways running through the southern State.

Appearing for the toddy workers and shop owners, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran submitted that the SC ban on liquor shops along highways was meant to curb drunken driving alone. Extending the ban to the toddy sector would rob thousands in the State of their traditional occupation. So far, the SC ban has claimed the livelihood of 3078 toddy tappers and closed down 520 toddy shops in the State. There is no empirical evidence to show that road deaths have been caused after consuming toddy.

Mr. Ramachandran argued that high-speed driving is almost impossible in Kerala considering the topography of the thickly-populated State.

Senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan and advocates V.K. Biju and Bina Madhavan argued that toddy contains only 8.1% alcohol, that is, less than wine.

Mr. Ramachandran said shifting toddy shops would not be advisable as the State has other restrictions about locating toddy shops near schools and temples.

The State government, represented by senior advocate V. Giri, referred to the Kerala Excise Manual. “Toddy improves the quality of blood and supplies the necessary vitamins for all the organs, nerves and tissues...”

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 2:40:52 PM |

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