State told to respond within a week on liquor shops near hospitals, schools
The J&K High Court today issued a notice to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP coalition government in a public interest litigation seeking complete prohibition of the sale and consumption of liquor in the state.
The High Court has also sought response of the government about the location of liquor shops along highways and near hospitals, educational institutions and religious places.
These directions were issued today by a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey in a public interest litigation filed by a religious organisation, Karwani Islami, through its lawyers Firdous Parray and Mudassir Naqshbandi, seeking complete prohibition of sale and consumption of liquor in the state.
Stating that the state is duty-bound for “improving the public health” as enshrined under Article 47 of the Constitution of India and Article 24 of the Constitution of J&K, the PIL argues that J&K is a Muslim-majority state and the sale and consumption of liquor hurts the religious sentiments of the majority community as consumption of liquor is prohibited in Islam. The PIL also argues that the sale and consumption of alcohol in J&K has not only affected the health of residents but is also responsible for various social problems such as domestic violence and accidents due to drunk driving.
“The issue as to whether in the state of J&K total prohibition is to be strictly enforced or not is a policy decision to be taken by the state government,” the High Court observed in its orders today while positing the matter for further consideration on October 6.
“Bearing this in mind,” the High court has asked the J&K Government to file its response within one week on giving directions regarding the location of liquor shops near the educational institutions, hospitals, places of worship, national and state highways and on what time the liquor shops should be opened and closed.
The petitioner in the PIL has also submitted that a draft Bill seeking a complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol was also submitted in the legislative Assembly by him in 2013 but no action seemed to have been taken on that.