Supreme Court upholds Kerala’s ban on alcohol in bars

BACKinsidThe Supreme Court has approved and upheld Kerala state’s ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in bars, with a view to introduce total prohibition within 10 years.

Bar owners had petitioned the Court to overturn the ban that restricts alcohol to bars in 5-star hotels, arguing that a ban would hit the state’s income from tourism and render many people jobless.

Kerala has India’s highest per capita alcohol consumption at over 8 litres per person yearly, whereas the national annual average for alcohol consumption is around 5.7 litres per person.

The order means that some 700 bars will be shut in the state that is popular among both domestic and foreign travellers.

Kerala maintains that its priority is to protect the health of people as doctors and activists also highlighted the rising alcohol abuse that is responsible for the hospitals and rehab centres packed with patients suffering from alcohol related diseases. They have however conceded they will impose the ban gradually, and shops will continue to sell alcohol and bars will be permitted to continue serving weaker drinks such as wine and beer.