The Karnataka High Court will hear on Tuesday a public interest litigation filed seeking opening of wine shops atleast for few hours each day, during the lock down period.
The petition is filed by Late G B Kulkarni Memorial Legal Trust, through its President Dr Vinod G Kulkarni. The plea states during the lock down certain class of people are deprived of consuming alcohol in any form or quantity. Social drinking has been in existence in India from time immemorial and Hindu scriptures mention that people during that period did consume Soma Rasa, regularly, the plea states.
Dr Kulkarni , a psychatrist says that alcohol if consumed in limited quantities is a relaxant of the body and mind. Many people do social drinking of alcohol and they are not branded as 'Alcohol Addicts'.
Due to the lockdown the public is deprived of procuring liquor which is resulting in mental depression, anxiety, hysteria outburst and abnormal behaviour. Alcohol withdrawal can result in a dangerous condition called 'Delirium', which is a medical emergency with significant morbidity and mortality. Further, depriving social drinkers from alcohol amounts to violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The plea also mentions that there have instances in Karnataka, where people have committed suicide due to non-availability of alcohol.
On April 2, the High Court of Kerala, stayed the order issued by the Kerala Government on March 30 as per which Excise Department can permit supply of alcohol to a person on production of a medical certificate to the effect that he is suffering from alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar had said "We are concerned that the State Government has taken a unilateral decision to administer more alcohol to persons suffering from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This is disturbing. This is a recipe for disaster."
As per Kerala Government Order, a person should get a certificate from the doctor regarding alcohol dependency.
The guidelines explained those having 'alcohol withdrawal symptoms' can approach the outpatient department of any government run hospital,including medical colleges. The consulting doctor can issue a prescription or 'opinion' in writing certifying that the patient is having withdrawal symptoms. Once the prescription is submitted to the excise department range or circle office, along with an application in prescribed format and government provided identity proofs, the 'pass' can be issued by the concerned authority.
It is the duty of the excise office to inform the Managing Director of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation on the permit given to each and every patient. They also have to provide permissible levels of IMFL as per the 'Abkari Act' of Kerala.