Kerala HC stays govt order on special passes for tipplers to buy liquor


PTI, Apr 2, 2020, 3:12 PM IST

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday stayed a state government decision to issue special passes to tipplers, who have withdrawal symptoms and doctor’s prescription to purchase liquor from the Excise department.

Staying the order for three weeks, a bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly granted a week’s time to the government to file its response.

The Court stayed the government decision on a batch of pleas including one by Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) challenging it.

The government had issued the order early this week, despite objection from doctors’ association, to supply liquor to tipplers under prescription during the 21-day lockdown initiated to counter the spread of novel coronavirus.

In its order, the government said following the lockdown and closure of liquor outlets in the state, there were instances of social issues including frustration and suicidal tendencies shown by those who consumed liquor regularly and hence a decision was taken to initiate steps to resolve the matter.

The order also said that those who have physical and mental issues due to withdrawal symptoms could be provided liquor in a “controlled” and “prescribed” manner.

Considering the pleas, the Court asked the government whether it could prove withdrawal symptoms can be treated by administration of alcohol.

It observed that there was no scientific base for the decision.

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