New Delhi: In a reprieve to bar owners in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Thursday told the state government to maintain status quo till 30 September and restrained it from shutting down non five star hotel bars.
While hearing a batch of petitions filed by top lawyers including senior advocates Fali S Nariman, Ram Jethmalani, Rajeev Dhawan, CS Sunderam and Arvind Dattar, the apex court told the Kerala government not to enforce its order prohibiting functioning of non-five-star hotel bars till Sept 30.
Kerala has passed an order banning the sale of liquor at bars and hotels below the five-star category and the ban order comes into force from today.
The petitions were opposed by the Kerala government, which had filed a caveat.
The petitioners have challenged the Sep 3 order of the Kerala High Court by which it ruled that there was no ground to hold that there could not have been a decision that would affect the entire class of persons, who were granted FL3 licenses except those having five-star classifications.
The Kerala government has passed an order banning the sale of liquor at bars and hotels below the five-star category and the ban order comes into force Sep 11.
The petitioners have contended that as on April 2, 2014, the renewal of FL3 license was governed by Rule 13 (3) and 13 (B) of the Foreign Liquor Rules.
They said the government is empowered to exercise such power only within the ambit of the said rules, thus the action of the government exercising the power of renewal outside the Foreign Liquor Rules cannot be justified as if it is an exercise of its plenary power, as held by the high court.