Fate of Bar hotels: HC verdict tomorrow

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014,20:04 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Kerala High Court will pronounce tomorrow the judgement on the batch of petitions filed by Kerala bar owners challenging the state government’s decision to close 730 odd bar hotels in the state.
Single judge K Surendra Mohan had heard the 100 odd petitions continuously for three weeks.
The bar owners had contended that the government decision to close all bars was taken in ‘haste’ and would be counter productive as it would lose substantial revenue from Abkari (liquor) business, besides impacting tourism.
A substantial revenue of the government is augmented from the taxes, duties, and rentals collected from the abkari business. At at time when the state was running on overdraft, the state government had not examined the impact of prohibiting vending of liquor in hotels other than those classified as five star hotels.
The Kerala Government’s stand was that it was its ‘avowed’ policy to reduce liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition within a 10 year-span.
The government had earlier declined to renew the licenses of 418 sub-standard bars and later decided to close down 312 bar hotels, except those in the five star category.
Senior advocate and Former union minister, Kapil Sibal, had appeared for the state government, while senior advocates Indira Jaisingh and Ariyama Sundaram appeared for the bar owners.