In a brief respite for bar owners in Kerala, the Supreme court on Thursday asked the state government not to cancel bar licences till September 30, TV reports said.
The apex court also directed the Kerala high court to expeditiously hear the bar owners petition challenging the Oommen Chandy government's plans to go for phased prohibition.
More than 700 bars were set to lose their licences on Friday, as per the government's decision to turn the state dry within 10 years.
If CM Chandy's prohibition plan comes into effect, alcohol would be available only in five star bars and government-owned beverage corporations. Beer and wine parlours would be allowed to operate in hotels with 3 stars and above.
The state government would also lose Rs 7000 crore in excise revenues, apart from an unestimated fall in tourism revenues in a move which is widely seen as an outcome of political infighting in the ruling Congress.