Kerala HC allows bars to function till Jan 20

Kerala HC allows bars to function till Jan 20

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday allowed bars in three-star and two-star hotels in the state to function till January 20, 2015.

Earlier, while considering petitions by bar hotel owners against the state’s new excise policy, the court had allowed the bars to function till December 12. The extension of deadline ordered by a division bench of the court comes in the backdrop of the government’s plans to analyse the impact of the excise policy that envisages closing down of bars and phased prohibition of liquor over a period of 10 years.

Advocate-General K P Dandapani informed the court that the government would initiate an impact study of the excise policy by labour and tourism secretaries. The government is expected to submit the study report in three weeks.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s recent remarks in the state legislative Assembly that the government was open to incorporate changes in the policy were dubbed as a boost for bar hotel owners in their legal battle against the new policy.

 Through the new excise policy, the government had proposed closing down all bars outside of the five-star category. A single bench of the HC exempted two more categories – bars in four-star hotels and heritage hotels – from the ban. The order was later stayed by a division bench.

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