Hearing on bar licences case today
The State government on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that it had in principle taken a new policy decision on liquor sale and modalities for implementing the policy were yet to be worked out.
The government made the submission when a batch of writ petitions filed by bar hoteliers challenging the decision came up for hearing before Justice C.T. Ravikumar.
The court adjourned to August 26 the hearing to enable the government to inform the court about the modalities.
During the hearing, the court orally observed it would not normally interfere with the government’s policy decision in these matters. The court said it did not want to interfere with the policy at this stage.
When a counsel for an hotelier said that the decision would affect the tourism industry, the court said the government could not provide all that a tourist would like to enjoy. The tourists might have their own desires, which the government could not allow in the cultural milieu of the State.
The petitioners contended that the order of the government was mala fide and issued without proper application of mind.
It was based on irrelevant and extraneous considerations and for getting political mileage. Even assuming that the government had the right to evolve a new policy, it could not be implemented in an arbitrary manner, detrimental to the interests of existing licencees.
They said that the policy had not been made applicable to bars functioning in clubs. They contended that implementation of the policy would lead to bootlegging.