K’taka HC quashes PIL seeking liquor sale during lockdown

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Bengaluru, April 7 (IANS) The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday quashed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking liquor sale ‘for a few hours daily’ during the 21-day lockdown thats in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said that there is no public interest in such a plea when a large section of people are deprived of the basic requirements of food and other essential commodities, sources said.
Vinod Kulkarni, the petitioner, then informed the court that he would withdraw the PIL and donate Rs 10,000 to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund set up to fight the outbreak Covid-19.
The High Court allowed Kulkarni to withdraw his petition and spared him from passing an order on the costs incurred by the court.
It directed Kulkarni to remit the donation and forward the receipt to the Registrar (Judicial) in two weeks’ time.
In his plea, Kulkarni informed the court that many people were deprived of alcohol amid the lockdown and went on to mention that social drinking was an age-old habit in India.
He invoked Hindu scriptures, saying people always consumed ‘Soma Rasa’, which is nothing but present day alcohol.
The petition also invoked Article 21 of the Constitution, saying depriving social drinkers of alcohol consumption is tantamount to transgressing the Article.
Kulkarni said social drinking is part of dignity of life as alcohol consumption is socially accepted in limited quantities.
The petitioner also said that sudden stoppage of alcohol is dangerous, leading to side effects such as mental depression, anxiety and hysterical outbursts.
Interestingly, the bench took up the petition through a video link amid the lockdown.