In another blow to the bar owners and brewing firms in Kerala, the high court on Thursday upheld the UDF government’s decision to shut down bars, except five-star hotels and government-owned retail stores (Bevcos) in the state.
In his verdict, Justice K Surendra Mohan pronounced the verdict after around 80 petitions were filed by owners of bar hotels in the state, which were taken up for hearing until September 25.
Kerala has 312 bars with merely 20 of them in five-star hotels, despite non-renewal of 418 bars since April. OOtherwise, Kerala is a haven for drining alcohol as it has the highest per capita consumption and earns Rs 9,000 crore a year from sale of liquor.
The Supreme Court had earlier stayed the ban and asked the Kerala high court to decide it before September but today’s verdict will not stop the bar owners lobby to move the Supreme Court again.
The Kerala bar owners say the Oommen Chandy government’s abkari policy was discriminatory and politically motivated.