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Opened liquor vends closed, Minister says not for confrontation with court

Opened liquor vends closed, Minister says not for confrontation with court

Thiruvananthapuram: State Excise Minister T.P.Ramakrishnan on Wednesday said that the liquor vends on Kannur-Kuttipuram national highways that were opened have been closed following a directive from the High Court.

Talking to the media, the minister said that the government doesn’t want a confrontation with the court. “We will implement the directions of the High Court,” Ramakrishnan added.

“Those liquor vends were allowed to reopen following a rule by the High Court. The State government has not tried to surpass the Supreme Court rule in the matter,” he said.

The government has permitted reopening of 13 liquor shops in the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram. Permission was also given to five toddy shops in Kozhikode and four in Kannur. In addition, one KSBC outlet was allowed to reopen in Kozhikode while two outlets were given permission in Kannur. The minister said that a directive has been given to close all these outlets. He added that the government was bound to obey the court rule.

The High Court had on Tuesday slammed the decision of the Pinarayi Vijayan government to open liquor vends on highways, warning they should not misinterpret the court's directive and any action should be taken only after seeking a clarification.

The high court's statements came as it heard a petition by a Congress activist stating that the state government was trying to mislead the court over the terminology of national highways and the observation made last week.

The high court also pointed out that the government should not make any efforts to open the liquor vends on the national highways, by citing court directives they have interpreted wrongly, warning that they know what to do if the state government tries to act smart.

Until further orders, no action on opening of bars on national highways should be attempted, it ordered.

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