In a major relief to two-star and three-star bar owners, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday held that status quo order obtained by them from Supreme Court against the closure of bars would be valid for a period of one more month. With the High Court order, the bars will remain open for a month from Friday evening. The Bench, which observed that the appeals merit a deeper examination, held that the order issued by Supreme Court directing the state to maintain status quo in the implementation of the abkari policy needs to be preserved for the time being, pending consideration of the appeal. On the observation by the Single Bench that the hotels with classification of four-star and above are not frequented by youth, students or the less affluent sections of the society, the Division Bench said that “it does not agree with this proposition. The rich man alone behaves properly and the poor will not, is against the mandate of the Constitution of India and the will of our country”.
The relief was given by Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph while considering the appeals filed by the bar owners seeking to quash the Single Bench order which granted permission to function hotels having four and five star and heritage categories. The state will file an appeal on Tuesday against the Single Bench order directing to grant licence to four-star hotels. The bars cannot function for the next two days. Hence, there was no need for an interim order and the court can consider it on Tuesday, the counsel for the state argued.