Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[Editorial # 28] Only for the rich?

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 30th December 2015. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer -writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]
Sometimes, when the state is faced with a legal challenge to its policy, all it needs to impress the judiciary is to make a suitably pious claim. Kerala, a State that accounts for nearly 14 per cent of the country’s liquor consumption as well as one that boasts of 100 per cent literacy, has managed to convince the highest court in the land that its policy of restricting bars that serve liquor to five-star hotels will bring down drinking. It has successfully claimed that if liquor is made prohibitively expensive, the State’s youth would be “practically compelled to abstain from public consumption of alcohol”. The court has accepted its argument that its objective was to prohibit all public consumption of alcohol, and that the only reason it made an exception in favour of five-star hotels was in the interest of tourism. The court sees no arbitrariness or caprice in this, saying even if it appears that there may be close similarities between five-star hotels and four-star or ‘heritage’ hotels, it is the preserve of the government to differentiate between them. The judgment strikes at the root of non-discriminatory treatment under the Constitution merely on the ground that the issue involved is the business of liquor. At one point, it recognises that a right to trade in liquor exists, and that once the State permits it any restriction on it has to be reasonable. Yet, it goes on to hold that a moratorium on other categories of hotels is not arbitrary or unreasonable because the potable liquor business, given supposed public health concerns, is res extra commercium, or a “thing outside commerce.”
The reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Kerala’s latest liquor policy is twofold. First, it unexceptionably roots its verdict in the rule that courts ought to be wary of interfering in policy matters. Secondly, and somewhat controversially, it accepts a discriminatory classification in favour of five-star hotels. The exception on the ground of tourism is quite curious because tourists, both foreign and domestic, are not drawn from the upper echelons of society alone. The court notes that no one is barred from upgrading their hotels to five-star grade, yet it seems to have accepted a contention by the government that it was not allowing bars in four-star hotels because three-star hotels may get themselves upgraded to four-star status! While total prohibition may be a laudable objective and one of the Directive Principles of State Policy, it is doubtful whether confining drinking to homes and private spaces by itself will bring down consumption. In a non-permissive society, it may only result in converting drinking into a covert activity, a phenomenon requiring policing and also bringing corruption in its wake. The verdict places a heavy burden on the State to rehabilitate those left unemployed by the closure of hundreds of bars, as well as to make its policy succeed. It also needs to ensure that the sweeping discretion conferred on it to differentiate between classes of licensees is not misused for any extraneous considerations.
1. What is prohibition? Why is liquor consumption not considered good? Throw light on this from an individual's health and sociological perspective.
2. What is the composition of liquor?
3. How does the rating system (5 Star etc) in hotel industry work? 
4. Why have 5-Star hotels been exempted from liquor ban in Kerala? Do you see any merit in this?
5. Which Fundamental Right is under question because of liquor ban in Kerala? How have the courts interpreted the ban?
6. Why is there a need to ban liquor sale and consumption? 
7. Which article under Directive Principle of State Policy talks about prohibition? Why did the drafters of Constitution think that such clauses are required to be put in the Constitution itself?
8. What hurdles could the government face in enforcing the liquor ban?
9. What could be negative fall outs of the liquor ban?
10. "Prohibition, though a pious objective mentioned in DPSPs, yet should not be brought about by coercion but by persuasion". Do you agree? Justify (200 words)


  1. 1.prohibition is the complete ban on product

    1. Prohibition is an act which is backed by law and it aims to disallow the subject over which it has been enforced.

    2. Liquor consumption may lead to various life threatening diseases like cancer and renal or cardiac disorders.

      It is one of the major cause of domestic violence in India particularly in rural areas .

      Addiction has lead to financial problems in Indian Households.

      Our society also has carries a dejected view on such addicted pople and they along with their families are often sidelined from community.

  2. 3. Rating system in india is done on star.
    categories: star 1,2,3,4,5(*, deluxe)
    heritage: Grand, classic and basic
    Hotels and restaurants Approval and Classification committeee of MINISTRY OF TOURISM assesses and finalizes the category.
    Income to the state varies with the hotels .
    5* and Heritage have to pay more than the other
    clasification is done on factors:
    utility of land
    ecofriendly measures
    serives that are provided to the public
    classification fees valid for only 5 years .

  3. 6. ban on liquor: reasons:
    WHO report: more than 33 lakh deaths due to alcohol consumption globally.
    3 higest in the increase in consumption in india after russia and estonia
    60 odd diseases are due to liquor consumption
    30% of the total population of India consumed alcohol in the year 2010.
    93% of alcohol was consumed in the form of spirits, followed by beer with 7% and less than 1% of the population consumed wine.

    1. domestic violence
      health is the responsibility of state
      article 21

  4. 7. article 43 of the constitution directs the legislatures and governments in power to ban the sale of alcohol/illegal drugs, under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).since the liquor is a major source of revenue and india yet has to take off, the ban on liquor at that time was not a feasible solution. Once the economy is at its astronomical heights, the loss of revenue due to ban on liquor will not paint the economy in bad light.

  5. 9. Fall in revenue of state.

    Fall in employment level.

    Fall in revenue collected through tourism.

    Sudden ban without rehabilitations can prove fatal and life threatening for addicted people.

  6. 10.. "Prohibition, though a pious objective mentioned in DPSPs, yet should not be brought about by coercion but by persuasion". Do you agree? Justify .
    prohibition though is the objective under DPSPs it should be brought about by coercion because of the following reasons:-
    1. liquor industry is the main source of revenue for many states.
    2. more over a blanket ban is not feasible as it is often used in medicine cooperative federalism, to have a healthy relations between the central and states, decisions should be based on persuasion but not on coersion.
    4.coersion is against the spirit of democracy