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Long Queue In Front Of Liquor Shops, An Affront To Citizenry And Loss Of Self Respect, Avoid It: Kerala HC Tells Excise Dept [Read Judgment]

The High Court of Kerala through Justice Devan Ramachandran, in a recent judgment, has directed the state Excise department to take proactive steps to avoid long queue formations in front of liquor shops all across the state.

The court observed that such longer queues extending even to public roads amounted to public nuisance and caused severe hardships to the general public.

Terming such queue formation ‘an affront to collective dignity to citizens of the state and loss of self-respect’, Justice Ramachandran, in strong words, deprecated such practice:  “The sinuous queues that are found of men (very rarely or never of women) in several parts of Kerala waiting for their turn to buy liquor, which spill over to the road, streets, lanes and other public areas is not merely a sight for the sore eyes, but also an affront on the collective dignity of the citizenry of the state. What is violated is not merely self-respect of the persons in the queues but also the collective respect of the citizenry as a whole.”

The court opined that the sole reason for such crowd formation was due to the factum that the Kerala State Beverage Corporation (hereinafter referred to as KSBC) does not retail liquor through shops with walk in and wait facility, but through counters which are barricaded and grilled from entrance.

This, in turn, forces customers to stand in queue, which at times would be on the roads and streets resulting in pandemonium in public space, including streets.

Taking cue from relevant statutory prescription under the Foreign Liquor Rules (Kerala), the court opined that the Excise authorities are duty bound to ensure that no such nuisance is caused to the public on account of their outlets.

The court further added that the Commissioners of Excise should ensure peace and morality in the area where the licenced shops are operating, including transfer of such offending shops to another site, if so warranted.

The court, hence, directed the authorities concerned to take appropriate steps as contemplated under law, to control and ensure abatement of nuisance in the instant case.

Before summing up, the court also directed the KSBC to take such infrastructural and logistical arrangements in front of their counters to avoid long queues.

Justice Devan concluded his judgment with the following note: “Obviously, the KSBC would have to take such infrastructural  and logistical arrangements in front of their counters to avoid such nuisance to the neighbours, including by having shops and waiting areas for such customers so that they will not have to spill over and stand in queues into the public streets and lanes.”

Read Judgment Here


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