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Time for walk-in liquor stores: Kerala HC

Court directs govt to submit its view on introducing walk-in facilities on Nov 9 

Published: 22nd October 2021 06:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2021 06:13 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday said time had come for stakeholders to decide how every liquor shop could be converted into a walk-in facility, rather than continuing with the present practice of selling liquor by making customers wait on footpaths. 

In its judgment in 2017, the court had said the government should think about providing walk-in facilities at liquor outlets. However, no action was taken in this regard, Justice Devan Ramachandran said. 
He directed the government to submit its view on introducing walk-in facilities on November 9. The latest order came on a contempt of court plea filed against the excise commissioner for not implementing the order to improve facilities at Bevco outlets.

On a lighter note, the court orally observed, “There is no poverty when people line up in front of liquor outlets. None want subsidies or demand reservation. It’s very egalitarian. People wait in queue for hours without any complaint to buy liquor.”

The court also said nobody wants a liquor store next to their home. “Why is that? It is because you (government) doesn’t have walk-in shops. If liquor stores are like walk-in shops, it would solve half the problem. However, you are forcing buyers to stand on the road.

When the monopoly over liquor sale was created, the government started selling liquor from small and dingy shops and people lined up on the streets, making it impossible for women and children to pass by safely. Why are we burying our heads in the sand? This is happening and we know it,” said the court.

Government pleader S Kannan submitted that 33 shops that were allowed to continue in their existing locations have been upgraded and Bevco has taken steps to improve the facilities by providing more counters and parking space. It has selected 12 new buildings to shift some outlets. Request to shift four shops were rejected by the deputy excise commissioners due to objections to the sites. 



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