Adhere to norms, HC tells Govt.

Kochi July 26. The Kerala High Court on Friday restrained the State Government and Excise Commissioner from issuing licence to toddy shops located within the prohibited distance.

The directive was issued by Justice K.A. Abdul Gafoor on a writ petition filed by Devakumar of South Chitoor, Ernakulam. The petitioner pointed out that by making an amendment to Section 7(2) of the Kerala Abkari Disposal Rules-2002, the Government allowed toddy shops functioning within the prohibited distance to continue to operate in the same place.

The amendment had been brought as there had been no takers for the toddy shops in the auction. In fact, the section banned setting up toddy shops within 400 metres radius of the places of worship, cemetery and educational institutions.

The petitioner said that a Division Bench of the High Court had already held that neither the State Government nor any other authorities could relax the distance norms in view of the Constitutional mandate to achieve prohibition. The petitioner, therefore, contended that the amendment was unconstitutional and illegal.

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