Kerala High Court wants ban on Toddy

The court added that alcohol is not an essential part of the people’s diet and it is only a luxury which people with disposable income can afford.

An interesting observation has been made by the division bench of the High Court regarding the sale of toddy in our state, while considering petition filed for granting of license for a toddy shop. ”It’s high time the government thought of discontinuing toddy business in the state to save people from the evils of alcohol” the Court said. The court hoped that the state government will take a bold decision to discontinue toddy business like the ban of arrack which came into force 16 years ago.

The bench comprising Justice C.N Ramachandran Nair and Bhabani Prasad Ray observed that it is high time that our state is liberated from the disgraceful business. In our toddy shops, spurious liquor is sold extensively under the label of toddy. Due to scarcity of toddy, the government permits sourcing and transport of toddy mostly from Palakkad bordering Tamil Nadu. This implies that artificially prepared spurious liquor is sold in toddy shops. Meanwhile the Excise commissioner in his report has stated that it is advisable to provide people with liquor with low percentage of alcohol. The court observed that we occasionally came across photographs published in newspaper showing people lying in inebriated state on the roadside. “It means the liquor served was not toddy as the maximum percentage of alcohol in toddy is 8” the court said.

The state is of the view that ban on toddy may cause loss of employment for many workers. The court replied that when arrack was banned without any scheme for rehabilitation, the unemployment of workers did not become a serious problem. The new generation is not taking toddy tapping as a profession.

The court added that alcohol is not an essential part of the people’s diet and it is only a luxury which people with disposable income can afford. The prohibition is a matter of state policy and the court said that it is up to the state court to take a decision in the matter at least for the next financial year.

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