Thiruvananthapuram (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Supreme Court of Kerala has decided to prohibit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in all bars across the State. The sale of liquor will only be granted in the bars of five-star hotels.
High court judges have approved legislation passed by state authorities, which had been challenged by the owners of public premises. The call will take full effect within 10 years and will lead to the closure of over 700 bars, frequented mainly by Indian and foreign tourists.
The decision came on Dec. 29 and is the result of a Government initiative to "protect young people and prevent them from destroying their lives." In fact, Kerala is the Indian state with the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita. Experts report that alcohol consumption in Kerala is equal to more than eight liters per person, compared to the national average of 5.7.
The judgment of the Committee, chaired by Justice Vikramjit Sen, states: "Most of the time, vulnerable people succumb to this temptation, and for the age that their propensity for the abuse, or to the pressures received from peers. In our opinion therefore, the ban of alcohol consumption can only be considered a positive step towards reducing the intake of drinks ".
The Kerala Bar Hotels Association had opposed the decision of the state, but now that is binding it will be phased in over 10 years. The plaintiffs had argued that it would negatively impact tourism and the turnover for business.
Bars may now only sell wine and beer. Kerala now joins the list of other Indian states - like Bihar - which recently decided to impose the ban.