Upholding Kerala government's decision to ban liquor in the state, the High Court Division Bench observed on Tuesday that alcohol consumption is not a fundamental right and ordered 300 bars to shut down. However, the ban is not applicable on 24 five-star hotels, which have been allowed to continue serving alcohols.
The Division Bench comprising Justices KT Sankaran and Mathew P Thomas announced their judgement, which is effective from Tuesday, 31 March, night.
While passing the judgement, court rejected all the arguments protesting the ban.
The Bench said that the ban on alcohol sale will neither affect tourism nor will it lead to unemployment. It also observed that the rights of a person will not be violated as they have no fundamental right to go to a place to consume alcohol.
"Promotion of tourism is not proportional to consumption of liquor. Tourism by itself is not an end and if somebody says that cocaine is provided or other psychotropic substances are provided in public places more tourists are likely to come to Kerala, it would be disastrous. It is for the state to evolve the policy taking into account the welfare of citizens, morality, decency and public order. Courts are not expected to delve into that realm," The Bench said, according to The Times of India.
KPCC president VM Sudheeran, who started the liquor ban campaign last year, was happy with the court's decision and called the Bench's observation of fundamental rights "historic", The Economic Times reported.
Bar owners have protested against the decision and said they will move the Supreme Court on Wednesday.