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HC clears Kerala's new liquor policy

Posted on Sep 03 2014 | IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 3 : Upholding the state government's new liquor policy, Kerala High Court Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association which had challenged the decision announced by the government last month.

In its ruling, the court said liquor business was not a fundamental right and the state government has made things very clear in its liquor policy.

The association said it would challenge the high court verdict in the Supreme Court.

Last month, the state government formulated a liquor policy under which all the 710 bars in the state will be closed to achieve total prohibition in the next 10 years.

From the next fiscal, liquor would be available only in around 16 five-star hotels operating in the state.

From Oct 2 this year, all Sundays will be dry days. Out of the 383 state-owned retail liquor shops, 10 percent will close down each year paving way for Kerala to achieve complete prohibition by Oct 2, 2023.

The court order came hours after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said there would be no change in the state's newly-announced liquor policy.

"Abstinence from liquor and prohibition is the two-prong strategy that will make our state achieve total prohibition.

"Phased prohibition has been our ultimate objective and what we have done now is to set a time limit to achieve that," Chandy told reporters here.

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