Kochi: It is not a crime anymore to buy a bottle of beer or wine from a licensed parlor and take it home.
The Kerala High Court has said that a rule barring bars from selling liquor bottles to customers who want to drink it elsewhere did not apply to beer and wine parlors.
The court was hearing a petition by Hotel Elegance against a police case against the beer parlor for selling three bottles of beer to customers who wanted to take it outside. The petitioners had argued that there was no bar on selling beer and wanted the police to stay out of their business.
Bar license allows bars to sell liquor bottles only for consumption within its premises. The court said the lack of such a provision in the beer and wine parlor licensing rules suggests that lawmakers did not intend to impose a restriction on them.
The court brushed aside the arguments of the counsel for the state government that the petitioner’s interpretation of the FL-12 licensing rule would render it meaningless.
The sale of beer and wine outside the parlors was a monopoly of government agencies such as Consumerfed, the government pleaders argued.
The court pointed out that FL-12 rules allow retail sale of bottles but prohibits consumption on the premises. The existence of a clause allowing sale of liquor for consumption elsewhere could not be held against such sale by licensed beer and wine parlors.
At the same time, beer and wine parlors cannot serve the beverages outside the permitted rooms. They have to pay a fee and seek prior permission to serve beer and wine in areas such as swimming pools, lawn and roof gardens.