1 Jun 2017 7:29 AM GMT
The High Court of Kerala has directed the Excise Department to consider applications afresh seeking renewal of bar licence submitted by bar owners situated along Cherthala-Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur Kuttipuram roads.Justice Devan Ramachandran was hearing a batch of petitions filed by bar hotel operators who had been restrained from operating their bars from vending liquor, despite...
The High Court of Kerala has directed the Excise Department to consider applications afresh seeking renewal of bar licence submitted by bar owners situated along Cherthala-Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur Kuttipuram roads.
Justice Devan Ramachandran was hearing a batch of petitions filed by bar hotel operators who had been restrained from operating their bars from vending liquor, despite having validly renewed FL-11 licences under the provisions of the Kerala Abkari Act for the year 2017-18.
The Court's direction came, after having found that the said bars operated in areas de-notified from State/National highways pursuant to a government notification issued in this context in 2014.The court also out of abundant caution,made it clear that the above applications would have to be considered afresh in due respect and compliance of the supreme court order in 2016,delivered in K.Balu's case which banned the sale of liquor in outlets in State/National Highways .
“The Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram road between km 379.100 to km 551.900 being no longer a Highway, I am sure that the rigor of the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in V.K. Balu (supra) would not be applicable to the said road. However, the other directions relating to distance from any other National/ State Highway and direct access from any other National/ State Highway would obviously be relevant,” Justice Devan Ramachandran observed, directing the authorities to consider the plea within two weeks.
The court also took cognizance of the fact,that the areas in the instant batch of writ petitions had been denotified by a Government notification from being considered areas belonging to part of a State /National highway in 2014.The court further noted that the supreme court judgment on ban of Liquour outlets in State /National Highways had been however issued only in 2016.The court hence said since the areas in question had already been denotified, the Excise department would have to consider such applications for renewal of bar licence in the light of Government notification issued in 2014.The court however out of abundant caution, and in due strict compliance had further directed to process such applications following the parameters set by Supreme court in V.K.Balu's case delivered in 2016
Observing that in the light of the notification, the rigours of the SC judgment wouldn’t be applicable to the roads in question, the Court ruled, “In such circumstances, I order these writ petitions directing the Deputy Commissioner of Excise, having jurisdiction over the area in which the petitioners' shops/ Bars are situated, to consider the claim of the petitioners to continue to vend liquor based on the renewed licences they are holding strictly in terms of the parameters set forth in V. K. Balu (supra) and in my earlier judgment extracted above as expeditiously but not later than two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.”
The Supreme Court had, in the case of State of Tamil Nadu Rep. By Its Secretary Home, Prohibition & Excise Dept & Ors v. K. Balu, banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of State and National Highways, including at bars, hotels and restaurants that serve alcohol. The judgment had justified its stand through the alarming statistics on the occurrence of road accidents. The order was subsequently modified on March 31, to provide the following reliefs:
You may read: SC Order on Highway Liquor Shops Faces Barrage of Criticism by LiveLaw Research Team
Read the Judgment here.