People in Kerala can now serve alcohol at private functions without taking permission from excise officials, the High Court ruled. Earlier, approval from the excise officials was must in a state that was on its way to implementing liquor prohibition. The court also barred excise officials from interfering in private ceremonies.
The High Court allowed the distribution of alcohol at parties, marriages and baptism ceremonies. The court’s order was in response to a private petition by a man who wanted to serve alcohol at his daughter’s baptism.
The state government recently amended the existing liquor policy to allow three-star restaurants and above to get bar licenses. Earlier, only five-star restaurants had approval to serve liquor. Taking permission each time from excise officials for holding events such as exhibitions, banquets and conferences at such hotels is believed to have hit the tourism industry badly.
The state government had earlier said that tourism in Kerala was affected by the liquor policy introduced by the previous UDF administration. A decline in both domestic and foreign tourists was observed because of the closure of bars. Kerala, prior to the liquor ban, was among the states with the highest per capital consumption of liquor.