No licence needed for private booze party, says Kerala High Court

The court made it clear that a private function in a house does not fall within the mischief of Rule 13 (6) of the Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953.

Published: 23rd June 2017 08:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2017 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

liquor, Alcohol

Image for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Now, you can serve liquor at home during a family function without worrying about lawmen  breathing down your neck. The Kerala High Court on Friday held liquor licence (FL-6) was not needed for serving liquor on special occasions within the precincts of a person’s house. The HC made it clear a private function at home did not fall within Rule 13 (6) of the Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953. 

“But even to those private family functions, other regulations, including quantity of liquor and the identity of place, will apply,” the court observed. Stressing the importance of hospitality, the court cited a Sanskrit proverb - ‘Atithi Devo Bhava.’ 

The court said if it went by the government’s stand, a person has to obtain a FL-6 licence paying `50,000 even for serving a glass of wine at his home.  “There will be no sale (of liquor) in a family function, nor does the host serving liquor to guests amount to a gift and, by legal fiction, a sale,” the court said. 

The court issued the order while allowing a petition filed by Alex V Chacko, a native of Peroor, seeking permission to serve liquor at the dinner arranged during the baptism of his grandson.The state government submitted the petitioner perforce had to have a FL-6 licence for serving liquor to the guests. 

“Baptism is a public function where his relatives, friends and neighbours are invited to participate in the dinner. By having an FL-6 licence, a person can possess three litres of Indian made foreign liquor and it is for his own consumption and not for serving, sharing or for giving as gift. 

‘Unpalatable allegation’
“If the petition is allowed, people will start selling liquor in their houses. This will make each and every house a bar in the state,” said the government. 

The High Court  struck down the argument saying it was an “unpalatable allegation.” 

Foreign Liquor Rules
The court made it clear a private function at home did not fall within Rule 13 (6) of the Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953

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