High Court (India)

June 27, 2017

People in Kerala can now serve alcohol at private functions without taking permission from excise officials


Responding to a private petition by a man who wanted to serve alcohol at his child’s baptism party, the Kerala High Court recently ruled that “People in Kerala can now serve alcohol at private functions without taking permission from excise officials.” This ruling is in contrast to an earlier order, where it was a mandate to take prior approval from excise officials for serving alcohol. Moreover, the court barred excise officials from interfering in private ceremonies. The court allowed the distribution of alcohol at parties, marriages, and baptism ceremonies.

The state government recently amended the existing liquor policy to allow only three-star restaurants and above to get bar licenses. Earlier, only five-star restaurants had approval to serve liquor. Taking permission each time from excise officials for holding events such as exhibitions, banquets, and conferences at such hotels is believed to have negatively impacted the tourism industry. A decline in domestic and foreign tourists was observed because of the closure of bars.

Finally, the court concluded that one need not obtain special license to serve liquor to guests at functions and gatherings organized at residential houses. However, the caveat is that the liquor so possessed and served should be within the permissible quantity which an individual can possess as notified by the Government from time to time, and any excess will invite the presence of law enforcers to spoil the party.

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