Home delivery of liquor? Wait a minute: High court stays Kerala Government's plan
The government had issued the order to home-deliver liquor to those with prescription from doctors via the Excise Department after the state witnessed five suicides of addicts suffering from withdrawal symptoms when the state run BEVCO outlets, as well as the bars closed in compliance with the lockdown declared by the Centre.
Kochi: Two-judge bench of the honourable Kerala high court today issued a stay of three weeks on the government's offer to deliver a maximum quantity of up to 3 litres of liquor to alcohol addicts. The order issued by the excise department had earlier promised to deliver alcohol to homes, if the individuals could produce an 'alcohol withdrawal certificate' from any doctor enrolled in government service.
Earlier, Kerala Chapter of IMA, the doctor's association had expressed their reluctance to prescribe for alcohol. The doctors said that this proposal will only add to the issues faced by the addicts already. One of the judges called the order “a recipe for disaster”.
Congress MP TN Prathapan, Indian Medical Association and Kerala Government Medical Officers' Association had earlier moved to the high court against the state's order to issue alcohol to addicts' homes on health grounds. This order was passed after the HC saw merit in the petition moved.
The government had issued this order via the Excise Department after the state witnessed five suicides of addicts suffering from withdrawal symptoms after the state run BEVCO outlets, as well as the bars in the state were closed in compliance with the lockdown declared by the Centre. Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar asked Kerala attorney KV Sohan how alcohol withdrawal could be treated with alcohol itself. “We are concerned that the state government has taken a unilateral decision to administer more alcohol to persons suffering from alcohol withdrawal. This is disturbing,” Justice Nambiar said.
The excise had termed the offer 'Liquor Pass'. The addicts had to meet a government doctor in his OP and subject himself for examination by the doctor, who would then let him issue a letter after being convinced about the 'addiction' of the patient. Once the letter from the doctor attesting the addiction arrives at the Excise Department, it would take the case to BEVCO which will collaborate with the excise department in home-delivering the amount of liquor as deemed required.
Under the scheme, one person is entitled to one pass only, but the number of times the pass could be reutilised is not defined. KGMOA strongly opposed such an action from the government citing the reason of security lapse it introduces to the government doctor's workplace. “If a doctor refuses to give the certificate, then the addict or the person in need of alcohol may try to cause physical harm to that doctor. Who will ensure the safety of the doctors? " KGMOA, the doctors’ association asked Asianet News Online.