NEW DELHI: “The policy of the state government is arbitrary and is hitting the business badly,” senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of the bar owners, told the Bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court was hearing the plea by Kerala’s four-star private bar and hotels challenging the ban imposed by the Kerala Government on serving liquor in state. Last week, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for four-star bar owners, had said ‘’if you want to stop liquor, cut everybody’s necks, including 5 stars and even government, not just ours. Four and five start bars are same class. Bar licence is must for all.”
Toeing the same argument, Salve said, “Policy should be equal for one and all.”
The apex court is hearing appeals challenging a judgment of the Kerala High Court that had upheld the state’s decision to close down most of the bars. During the hearing, the court had observed that it would be suitable to implement alcohol prohibition in a phased manner in Kerala.
The association had moved the apex court against a Kerala High Court order which upheld the state government’s liquor policy confining bar licences only to five-star hotels.