Kerala High Court today dismissed as infructuous the writ appeals challenging the closure of 418 bar hotels in the state in view of the new excise policy declared by the government.
Dismissing the appeals by bar hotel owners, a division bench comprising justice K T Sankaran and Justice P D Rajan recorded that the challenge will not survive in view of the new excise policy declared by the government subsequently.
The bench said the writ petition has become infructuous.
The court also declined the request of appellants to complete the inspection of bar hotels as per order dated August 14 this year.
Pursuant to the order, 105 bar hotels were inspected.
The judges held that in view of the policy promulgated subsequently, such requests cannot be entertained.
However, the court said the petitioners can approach the single judge challenging the new excise policy.
The bench also closed the proceedings in the impleading petition filed by Congress MLA T N Pratapan following the dismissal of the appeals.
The petitioners had approached the court after the government refused to renew their licenses saying they were substandard.
Meanwhile, arguments in a batch of writ petitions challenging the excise policy are being heard by Justice K Surendra Mohan.
Supreme Court senior advocate Indira Jaisingh, representing the bar owners, today addressed the court stating that the government decision to shut down 700 odd bar hotels, except those in the five star category, was arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal.
The apex court had disposed of the cases after directing the High Court to hear the matter by September 30 and had directed the government to file affidavit on September 16.
Kerala Government in a counter affidavit filed on Sept 16 informed the High Court that it had been its ‘avowed’ policy to reduce consumption of liquor in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition within a 10 year span.