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Kerala High Court chides State Excise Dept for crowds at liquor outlets

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on July 08, 2021

The court added that the crowding was taking place because the State govt had a monopoly over the sale of liquor

Slamming the State government for the uncontrolled crowds outside the Kerala State Beverages Corporation liquor outlets, said the crowd posed a health hazard, in the context of the pandemic, and an affront to the “collective dignity of the society.”

Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that even as the number of people who could attend wedding was limited to 20, over 500 people crowd outside Bevco outlets. Kerala accounted for one-third of the total Covid cases in the country. The State government should protect the health and dignity of the customers and other citizens.

The court made the observations while hearing on a contempt petition filed by a Thrissur-based firm for not implementing the court directive to the Bevco to regulate crowds outside outlets and avoid inconveniencing neighbouring shops.

The court observed that after the last lockdown, the State government and the Excise Department had got enough time to prepare for such crowd. The Government should have expected heavy demand for liquor and arranged to regulate buyers

The court also added that the crowding was taking place because the State government had a monopoly over the sale of liquor. As a result, the people who wanted to consume liquor had no option but to go to the Bevco outlets and consequent crowding.

The court added that it was high time that the State government and the Excise department should think out box and find a solution to the nagging problem.

S Ananthakrishnan, Excise Commissioner and Yogesh Gupta Chairman and Managing Director of Bevco were present during the court proceedings through Video Conferencing. The court on Wednesday directed the officers to appear before it in the case.

Published on July 08, 2021

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