Toddy, beer and wine shouldn't be considered as liquor: Kerala to SC

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has asked the Supreme Court not to consider toddy, beer and wine as liquor.

The State made this observation in the petition filed in the apex court seeking clarity in its order on national ban on liquor outlets on National and State highways.

Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) will also move the Supreme Court stating the same matter.

The SC had ordered that there will be no liquor shops on national or on state highways. The apex court set April 1 as the deadline to ensure all such shops on all highways are shut and licenses of liquor shops on highways will not be renewed after April 1.

The petitioners wanted clarity on the order and asked if even bars and toddy shops are included in the ban order. Earlier, in the legal advice given by legal secretary B G Hareendranath to the state government, it said that toddy shops and bars have to be shifted 500 metres away from the National Highway.

Following this, the state sought the opinion of the Advocate General C P Sudakar Prasad. The Advocate General told the state to approach the SC for more clarity after consulting with legal experts.

Nine states, including the Union Territory of Puducherry, Assam, Maharashtra, have moved the SC for modification of the apex court’s national ban on liquor outlets on national and State highways. The Division Bench which heard the plea filed by these states have been directed by the SC to take up the state’s plea too. The special bench comprising Justice Chandrachud will examine the issue in detail within one week.

Bevco will ask the Supreme Court to extend the time period to remove the liquor shops from the present date of March 31.

As per the SC verdict, around 180 Bevco outlets need to be moved to another place. Bevco has already moved 30 outlets after the verdict while panchayats have issued stop memo to nine outlets. Since there are widespread protests in various places, the Bevco will ask the court to give at least eight months’ time to move the outlets to another place.

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