Trivandrum: Following Kerala government’s commitment to reduce alcohol consumption, the Kerala HC recently suggested that the sale of liquor be allowed only after 5 p.m.
A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice C K Abdul Rehim issued the directive while considering an appeal filed by the state government challenging a single judge order on amending Rule 28 of the Foreign Liquor Rules. As per the rule FL-3 hotels functioning within a panchayat or municipality should not be kept open before 8 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
Yentha asked the citizens across the state to see what they thought of HC’s suggestion.
“Confining the bar timing to between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. would create a lot of chaos in the city. There is a misconception that workers and drivers consume liquor throughout the day, while those who consume liquor for enjoyment drink only in the evening. How can the bar timing and this be related? Those who want to drink will somehow find it,” said Riyaz.
The court issued this suggestion while considering a petition filed by Kollam based Xavier’s Residency. The court also observed that there is an increase in the number of social crimes as alcohol consumption was increasing in the state.
“It is true that getting drunk increases the risk for violent behaviour. This is only for people who have a strong tendency to suppress feelings of anger when sober. If there is restriction we will purchase and stock it at our home or work place. That’s all. Violence will still exist, won’t it? I guess addicts and drinkers might create more trouble now because there will be a heavy rush from 5 p.m. onwards,” reacted George from Wayanad.
The division bench has also asked the state to consider prohibiting the sale of toddy during working hours so that the consumption of alcohol can be reduced, ultimately trying to achieve total prohibition.
“There are a lot of Keralites who are alcohol dependent. Some of the alcoholics are unable to control drinking once they start. They take liquor in the morning and the day time and consume the rest during evening or night. Such addicts have to be treated but and putting restrictions on restaurants which serves alcohol is not the solution. The hoteliers would find a lot of difficulty to serve and sell if the sale of liquor is confined only to evening hours,” confessed the owner of a leading hotel in Trivandrum.
According to the division bench, the sale of liquor in bars from morning is an encouragement for all working class people and drivers to engage in work under the influence of alcohol.
“Why only working hours? The family members are the victims of all the violence the drunkards unleash. This would now increase. Kerala’s women and children would suffer more. Men may prefer to sit at home and drink. One can imagine the consequences of this,” warned Sree Devi from Ambalamukku.
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