Coronavirus isn’t shutting down liquor shops in Kerala, and cheeky home delivery suggestions earn a ₹50,000 fine
- Kerala is discouraging public gatherings but is yet to shut down its liquor shops.
- People waiting in queues outside these state-run establishments are being directed to stand at least a meter apart by the local authorities.
- One man who tried to petition the Kerala High Court for home delivery of alcohol was fined ₹50,000.
People standing in queues outside state-run establishments are maintaining a distance of a few feet between them to reduce the chance of an infection. A few videos also surfaced of guards asking people to maintain at least a meter of space between them.
AdvertisementHowever, some reports suggest that the videos of social distancing at liquor stores is only optics. Reporters with TNM saw a very different picture on the ground.
One brave soul petitioned the Kerala High Court to make way for the home delivery of alcohol. Instead, he was slapped with a ₹50,000 fine as per LiveLaw’s report.
The case for home delivery of alcohol
The petitioner argued that since alcohol shops were crowded during peak hours, it’s not safe for him to go out and actually buy what he needed. Instead, he suggested alternative ways in which delivery would be feasible during the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, Judge Nambiar was not amused. “It is with a deep sense of exasperation and a tinge of disgust that I write this judgment,” he said.
“The petitioner's conduct in filing this frivolous petition at a time like this, while making a mockery of the salutary concept of access to justice — which this institution strives to guarantee — also ridiculous the functioning of this noble institution,” he added before instructing the petitioner to address the costs and send them to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.
Liquor makes the government money
Even though the state government has called for people to avoid leaving the house and restrict public gatherings — there is no plant to shut down liquor shops. Revenue from liquor sales in a major source of income for Kerala.
During 2018-19, sales reached an all-time high of ₹14,508 crore, which means the government gets a cut of around ₹2,521 crore as excise duty. Sources at the Kerala State Beverages Corporation told the Deccan Herald that despite the emergency around Coronavirus, there hasn’t been much of a fall in liquor sales.
Others within the government feel that the shutting down of liquor shops may trigger alcoholics to drink copious amounts of alcohol in the name of stocking up before stores shut down. This could lead to a more dangerous situation, sources told ET.
AdvertisementTo ensure that necessarily precautions are taken, local authorities have posted additional guards at every Indian-made foreign liquor outlet to enforce social distancing. The police have distributed masks, gloves and hand sanitizers for the staff at these shops.
While PM Modi called for a 'janata curfew', the Kerala government implemented some serious steps
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