‘Try making profit doing other business’

Kapil Sibal suggested bar owners to make profit by doing some other business

Kochi: Former law minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday appeared for the state government in the High Court to defend the state’s new liquor policy and suggested that the bar owners should try to make profit by doing some other business.

The state implemented the policy to help society considering the larger public interest, he argued.

Mr Sibal began his arguments stating that alcoholism is a social evil. He added that sometimes the fate of a nation depended on the use of intoxicants and the nation would lose its morale because of the use of it. It is the inherent right of the state to restrict the consumption of intoxicants, he argued.

In exercise of the power of judicial review, the courts do not ordinarily interfere with the policy decision of the government unless the policy can be faulted on grounds of mala fide, unreasonableness, arbitrariness or unfairness. During his four-hour marathon argument, Mr Sibal, cited various apex court orders and the provisions of the Abkari Act. He submitted that the Abkari Act empowered the state to take a policy decision. Since the bar owners had not challenged the Abkari Act, the court should reject the petitions.

The state government was well within its authority to formulate the policy regarding the sale of liquor in the state. Mr Sibal argued that prohibition of liquor was not an easy task.

“What is sought to be done is prohibit consumption of liquor which is injurious to health. The state can by law completely prohibit or partially ban the sale. No one can claim that one should have the fundamental right to the sale of liquor,” he submitted.

“Trade of liquor is not an ordinary trade and by its very nature it has the potential to cause mischief and even evil, which leads to several issues such as domestic violence and crime. It is the duty of the state to ensure that public health is protected. The court should take note of the impact of alcoholism on health. Through the policy to direct to shut down 710 bars, the main objective of the government is to limit the choice of the consumer to go to a public place and consume it, but not limiting their choice to buy liquor and have it at home,” Mr Sibal submitted.

( Source : dc correspondent )
Next Story