THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has amended Kerala Foreign Liquor Rules under Sections 24 and 29 of the Abkari Act to provide liquor to consumers during emergency situation. As per the government order, a Foreign Liquor.1 (FL.1) licence holder may be allowed to supply foreign liquor to any person who is eligible to possess foreign liquor, not exceeding the prescribed quantity under Abkari Act, 1 of 1077, and the rules made thereunder, on such emergency conditions and in such a manner as may be specified by the government from time to time.
It has been decided to supply foreign liquor from FL.1 and FL.9 licensees to persons who are in need of liquor when shops are closed due to emergency situations. At present, the Foreign Liquor rules do not allow supply of foreign liquor from FL.9 licensees to persons. FL.1 licensees are allowed to vend foreign liquor to public. To allow supply of foreign liquor to persons from FL.1 and FL.9 shops in emergency situations, Foreign Liquor rules need to be amended suitably, the government order clarified.
However, the Excise Minister’s office clarified that the state government has no plans to allow liquor sale through Beverage Corporation (BEVCO) outlets or warehouse as per the amended clause. Earlier, there was a proposal to amend the Abkari Act to facilitate liquor trade from warehouses as temporary means to ensure liquor during emergency time. But after the high court stayed the move to sell the liquor from Bevco outlets during the lockdown period, the government dropped the idea.
But somehow, when three other routine things were amended, it was also included in the list. Though the amended clause is deemed to have come into force with effect from March 30, 2020, the state will not go ahead with liquor sale during the lockdown, it was stated. Earlier, the High Court had imposed a three-week stay on the government order allowing sale of liquor to those suffering from alcoholic withdrawal symptoms on the basis of a prescription from a government doctor.