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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightSC reserves verdict on ...

SC reserves verdict on plea against State's liquor policy

SC reserves verdict on plea against States liquor policy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its judgement on a batch of pleas against a Kerala High Court decision upholding the state government's liquor policy that confined issuance of bar licenses to five and three star hotels.

A bench headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen reserved the verdict after the counsel for the state and the Kerala Bar Hotels Association concluded their arguments in the case.

The bar owners, in their plea, have contended that the policy of was discriminatory in nature and would lead to a situation where only the well-heeled have access to alcohol.

However, Kerala government had argued that the decision taken by the state not to renew licenses was a policy decision.

The high court had upheld the state government's liquor policy granting licenses to beer and wine parlours, resulting in the shut down of 300 bars below the prescribed category.

The state government's decision was a part of its policy to make Kerala a liquor-free state by 2023.

The private bar owners have contended that this policy of "partial ban" was discriminatory in nature.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the bar owners, said this policy will lead to a situation where only the well-heeled have access to alcohol.

On October 30, 2014, the Kerala High Court had upheld the the state government's decision to close down more than 700 bars, but had exempted heritage and four-star hotels.

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