Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India [Representational Image]IANS

The Supreme Court has upheld the Kerala government's liquor policy that limited issuance of bar licences to five-star hotels, dismissing petitions filed by the Kerala Bar Hotel Association and others to overturn the ban, said reports.

The bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh rejected the pleas by bar owners who had approched the apex court after the Kerala High Court dismissed their petitions.

The liquor policy allows sale and consumption of alcohol at bars in five-star hotels only, and those below five-star certification are barred from serving alcohol. However, the state government has maintained that liquor was available at retail outlets under the Beverage Corporation.

The policy is part of the Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government's efforts to make Kerala a liqour-free state by 2023.

The government, which asserted that the people can drink at their homes, told the court they will be discouraged from drinking in the presence of their wives and children.

In August, the Supreme Court had said a bar licence, by no means, is a fundamental right, adding that long queues at beverage outlets will discourage youngsters from buying alcohol and overall alcohol consumption will come down with a fall in supply.

In March, the state high court had upheld the liquour policy, saying people would be discouraged as drinking at a bar in a five-star hotel is a luxury.

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