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Licence not required for serving liquor at private functions: Kerala High Ccourt

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-06-2017 PTI

Kochi: The Kerala high court on Friday held that a licence is not required for serving liquor at private functions organised in houses.

The court delivered the order while considering a plea by one Alex V. Chacko, who apprehended harassment by police and excise department authorities at a baptism function in which he was planning to serve liquor to guests.

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In his petition, Chacko recalled that he had to obtain a licence from the excise department after paying Rs50,000 for serving liquor at the betrothal ceremony of his daughter. He contended that he and his relatives owned only the permissible amount of liquor.

According to provisions in the Kerala Abkari Act and Rules, a person can possess three litres of Indian-made foreign liquor. The petitioner also said since own house being a private place, a licence from the excise department is not required for serving liquor for guests there. He said liquor is not for sale and it is served along with food to guests. A person’s house will not come within the definition of public space under Section 15 (C) of Kerala Abkari Act, he argued.

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Appreciating the contentions of the petitioner, the division bench of the high court comprising Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu held that a licence is not required for serving liquor at a private function organised at a person’s home. However, the court said the limit prescribed under the Abkari Act and Rules for possessing liquor should not be exceeded and the sale of liquor in houses is not permitted.

During the hearing, the government argued that if the public is invited and liquor is served, houses could also termed as bars. However, the court rejected it and permitted the petitioner to serve liquor at the permissible limit.

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