KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has held anganwadis do not fall within the definition of ‘educational institution’ as contained in the Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules, 2002.The court issued the order while dismissing a batch of petitions challenging Excise Department’s decision to grant licence to liquor and toddy shops within 200 m of an anganwadi.
The petitioners argued anganwadis will fall within the definition of ‘educational institution’ mentioned in the rules. So, establishing a toddy shop in its vicinity will violate the rules. The petitioners had filed a representation before the Commissioner of Excise but it was rejected saying the anganwadis could not be defined as such.
Sub-rule (2) of Rule 7 of the Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules, 2002, prohibit establishment of toddy shops within 400 m and Foreign Liquor-1 shops within 200 m of educational institutions. Going by the plain meaning of the words used in the clause defining ‘educational institution’, an anganwadi will not fall within the said clause, the government pleader said.