New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Tuesday its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the Kerala policy restricting the sale and consumption of liquor at the bars in five star hotels only and ejecting other hotels serving liquor at bars from the business.
The judgment listed to be pronounced by the bench of Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh was reserved on August 27 after long arguments spread over many days wherein the Kerala government, defending its policy, had said that those ousted from the business had no fundamental right to continue selling liquor at the bar.
The batch of petitions by the Kerala Bar Hotel Association and others had contended that the new policy under challenge that permitted only the five star hotels to sell and serve liquor bars in their hotels was discriminatory to other hotels.
The liquor policy restricting the sale and consumption of liquor at the bar benefitted 24 five-star hotels in the state and it was upheld by the Kerala High Court on March 31.
The apex court verdict on the Kerala liquor policy which seeks to take away from the reach of common man to buy and consume liquor at the bars within their means may have bearing on the attempts by the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to gradually and in phased manner to curb the sale of liquor in his state.
Defending the ban on the service of liquor at the bar below the five star hotels, Kerala government had contended that the liquor was available on the retail outlets and people can buy and drink at their homes. The state government had told the court that drinking at home in the family with wife and children present was discouraging.
The apex court on September 11, 2014, had asked Kerala High Court to decide the challenge to the notification directing the bar owners below the five star hotels to shut their business. The high court by its March 31 order had upheld the policy, terming drinking at bar a luxury.