Expressing concern over the rampant increase in the alcohol consumption, the Kerala High Court on Friday opined that the state should find ways and means to regulate the use and availability of liquor.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice K Vinod Chandran passed the order while considering a petition filed by Action Council in connection with the issue related to Hotel Travancore Palace, Cherthala.
“The object of serving liquor at star hotels is to promote tourism not alcohol consumption,” the court held. The petitioner sought a directive to close the northern gate of the star hotel that led to the road to restrict the entry of the local residents who frequented the bar attached to the hotel. The court also opined that if three-star classification is necessary for a hotel to obtain the licence to run a bar, the facility at the bar should meet the ‘star criterion’. The Abkari Act clarifies that the hotels would be permitted to serve liquor in rooms, restaurants, rooftops and aside the swimming pools, only upon meeting the necessary norms. But such facilities should be made to achieve the goal of promoting tourism and not the consumption of alcohol, the court held. The allegation was raised in the wake of more and more locals frequenting the bars compared to the tourists and the hotel customers.
The court further asked the Commissioner of Excise to file an affidavit clearly disclosing the policy of the government as to whether the bar has to be treated as a necessary component on the hotel premises.