THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday dismissed a clutch of petitions filed by hotels and their associations seeking review of its verdict, which had approved Kerala’s new liquor policy that prohibits drinking in public and restricts serving of alcohol to five-star hotels.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Shiva Kirti Singh took up the review petition filed by the Kerala Bar Hotels Association and others in judges’ chamber and dismissed them.
“Having carefully perused the petition for review and the judgment sought to be reviewed, we do not find any error apparent on the face of the record of this case, warranting reconsideration of the aforementioned judgment. The review petition is without any merit and the same is, accordingly, dismissed,” stated the order issued by the bench.
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The bars and hotels had sought reconsideration of the apex court’s judgment in December when the court upheld Kerala’s new liquor policy while reminding all state governments that the Constitution places a responsibility on them to “at least contain, if not curtail, consumption of alcohol”.
A bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Shiva Kirti Singh had held that “strict state regulation is imperative” to discourage regular and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Hence, the bench said that not granting bar licences to hotels other than five-star establishments has to be viewed as a “positive step towards bringing down the consumption of alcohol, or as preparatory to prohibition”.
It further underlined: “The court cannot be blind to the fact that a social stigma at least as far as the family unit is concerned is still attached to the consumption of alcohol. Free trade in alcohol denudes family resources and reserves and leaves women and children as its most vulnerable victims.”