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Kerala’s bars hit by Supreme Court prohibition ruling

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The popular Indian tourist destination of Kerala state started the new year with hundreds of bars remaining closed, after a Supreme Court ruling upheld the state government's 'partial prohibition' policy.

While over 300 bars that were refused renewal of licences earlier this year lost their appeal in the country's top court, the ruling, which was handed down last week, allowed the continued serving of liquor in 27 of the state's 5-star hotels.

In 2014, the Government announced it would make the state 'dry' within a decade, in phases. Liquor will, however, still sell through 305 retail outlets, although the administration says it intends to bring this number down by 10% every year.

"We are happy that the Supreme Court has upheld our decision," said Kerala's Excise Minister, K. Babu, following the ruling. "From now on, we will be going ahead very strongly with our anti-liquor campaign programmes as we want this habit to be removed from our society,"

However, the president of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association, Raj Kumar Unni, added: "We will seek legal advice on how to move forward."

In late-November, Bihar became the latest state in India to ban the consumption of alcohol, fulfilling an election pledge by Chief Minister Nitish Kuma.


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