The Kerala High Court today directed the state government to ensure that no liquor bar opened on the basis of its last week order on pleas of bar owners functioned till the disposal of a review petition related to the matter. Justice Devan Ramachandran issued the directive, observing that the state government had misinterpreted the court order relating to reopening of bars, which were closed following the ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways. Passing orders on a petition by bar owners last week, the court had directed the state excise department to consider the application of petitioners for permission to operate the bars in the light of a August 14, 2014 government notification denotifying certain highways. The bar owners had contended that the roads from Kannur till Kuttippuram and from Cherthala to Thiruvananthapuram could not be considered as highways in view of the notification.
Filing a petition seeking a review of the order, one V P Ibrahimkutty from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, claimed that Kerala PWD Minister has openly declared that the roads were still National Highways. He alleged that the state government was now initiating steps to permit bar licences along these highways, ignoring entries in the National Highway Act 1956. Judge Ramachandran directed the state government to see that none of the bars opened on the basis of the earlier high court order shall function till the present petition was heard and posted it for tomorrow.