A Kerala High Court division bench on Friday stayed the single bench order banning the sale of liquor in the state, paving the way for 250 bars in the state to reopen.
As per the new HC directive, hotel bars will be permitted to function for a month, CNN-IBN reported. The order comes in response to a plea moved by three-star bar owners against HC's earlier order allowing only four and five-star hotels to continue operating bars. This had effectively sealed the fate of 670 bars in the state.
Bar owners in Kerala had earlier approached the court challenging the government's decision to close over 700 bar hotels in the state, maintaining it was discriminatory. The bar owners, in August, had stated that there could not be discrimination between five-star and other bars.
They had informed the high court in September that the state government's decision to close all bars was taken in 'haste' and would be counter productive as it would lose substantial revenue, besides impacting tourism.
In their affidavit filed in the court, the bar owners had said a substantial revenue of the government was augmented from the taxes, duties, and rentals collected from their businesses.
At a time when the state was running on overdraft, the state government had not examined the impact of prohibiting vending of liquor in hotels other than those classified as five star hotels, they said.
The Kerala government had informed the High Court that it was its 'avowed' policy to reduce
liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition within 10 years.
The government had been directed by the apex court to file the affidavit on a batch of
appeals filed by 300-odd bar owners challenging the decision to close down all bars, except those in the five star category.
The government had earlier declined to renew the licenses of 418 bars that were deemed sub-standard.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 31, 2014 15:41:54 IST