A division bench of Kerala High Court on Wednesday rejected the petitions of bar hotel owners, challenging the new liquor policy of the state government.
As per the new policy, the Congress government had decided not to renew liquor license of 418 bars already remaining closed since April and revoke the license of another 312 hotels next week.
Bar hotel owners have demanded an interim stay order on the government directive to close down all bars, below the category of five star, on September 12.
The court said it cannot interfere in the liquor policy of the government, a liquor-free state in a decade. The division bench of Thottathil Radhakrishnan and P B Suresh Kumar observed that liquor business could not be considered as the fundamental right.
The court said bar licenses were issued on temporary basis and the new liquor policy could not be considered hasty in nature as argued by the aggrieved hotel owners. Prohibition in a phased manner was in the election manifesto of the Congress government.
The court rejected the argument of the bar hotel owners that the new liquor policy was declared before it was being ratified by the Cabinet.
All bar hotels, in the categories including four star, would have to close down on September 12.