Law
The court was hearing a plea filed by a resident of Palakkad district and has appointed two lawyers as amicus curiae to look into the matter.
Photo : Arayil P Das, Wikimedia

Taking a serious note of toddy shops operating out of residential areas, the Kerala High Court has observed that toddy shops that were not constructed protecting people's privacy, can be an encroachment on the citizen's fundamental right.

Mentioning the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right, the court said, "Operation of a toddy shop would impinge on the rights of people living in the neighbourhood. The environment around such a toddy shop itself would create nuisance to the people living in the locality.”

The Kerala High Court has appointed two lawyers, Advocate RT Pradeep and Advocate Ashok Kini, as amicus curiae to examine the issues arising out of toddy shops functioning in residential areas. In the order dated October 9, 2019, the court has mentioned that it is a major issue as many writ petitions have been filed against this.

"This matter raises an important question as to the privacy of the persons living in the neighbourhood of a toddy shop," the court observed.

Justice A Muhamed Mustaque, passed the order considering the plea filed by Vilasini from Pattambi of Palakkad district.

The petitioner approached the court challenging Palakkad Deputy Excise Commissioner's move to shift a toddy shop to her neighbourhood.

The order mentions that these shops function without adhering to the rules and regulations regarding the minimum distance they should maintain from residential areas.

The order also mentions that the government has to specify the conditions for the functioning of a toddy shop, causing least inconvenience to the people in the locality.

As per the present distance rules, no toddy outlets are permitted within 400 meters of schools, temples, mosques, churches, project areas and SC/ST colonies. However, there is no mention of residential areas in the government rules.

Kerala has witnessed a number of protests against liquor outlets functioning in residential areas. As per the state Excise Department, there are 5,185 licensed toddy shops across Kerala.