To drink or not to drink? Kerala HC says ‘no’ to ‘passion of the pint’

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The Kerala High Court said consumption of alcohol is not a fundamental right.

Kochi: Upholding the liquor policy adopted by the previous government, the Kerala high court has ruled that consumption of alcohol is not a fundamental right.

A division bench had recently delivered the verdict on a writ petition filed by one Anoop MS, challenging the liquor policy on the ground that there is no provision in the Abkari Act that empowers the government to prohibit liquor, even in a phased manner.

“To drink or not to drink. That is the Hamletian dilemma of Anoop. He has chosen to drink. He rails at the rules that obstruct his passion for the pint, his right to choose, to be let alone, to privacy, and, of all, his right to life,” the court observed.

“He claims that the laws prohibiting alcoholic drinks fall foul of the fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen, to him.

“Do they? Our answer: No,” the court said in its order delivered on January 12.

Anoop, who taps rubber trees and extracts latex, had argued that liquor is his “daily diet” and it makes him “rejuvenated, relaxed,” and even “physically fit,” as if it were the elixir of his life.

His counsel had also contended that the government has misused its dominant position by introducing the policy, though it has no authority to prohibit a lawful activity, and indirectly at that.

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