Kerala, a State that accounts for nearly 14 per cent of the country’s liquor consumption as well as one that boasts of 100 per cent literacy, has managed to convince the highest court in the land that its policy of restricting bars that serve liquor to five-star hotels will bring down drinking. It has successfully claimed that if liquor is made prohibitively expensive, the State’s youth would be “practically compelled to abstain from public consumption of alcohol”. The court has accepted its argument that its objective was to prohibit all public consumption of alcohol, and that the only reason it made an exception in favour of five-star hotels was in the interest of tourism.
The reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Kerala’s latest liquor policy is twofold. First, it unexceptionably roots its verdict in the rule that courts ought to be wary of interfering in policy matters. Secondly, and somewhat controversially, it accepts a discriminatory classification in favour of five-star hotels.
I am yet to read the judgement but i think supreme court erred in upholding this policy. I am doubtful whether such restrictive and prohibitory policies can be successful. State’s concern for public health is appreciable but shouldn’t they focus on production/manufacturing side than consumption. And I too find the exemption for five-star hotels unreasonable. Is supreme court trying to say that those who go to five star hotel their health is not so important? And the first reasoning that since its policy matter, court shouldn’t interfere, makes me laugh. because the ground has been used in past as per convenience and supreme court on numerous occasions struck down govt. policies for being violative of article 14.