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Toddy sellers say drink not liquor, want SC to exempt it from ban on sale

The Kerala Toddy Shop Licensee Association said toddy is a natural drink and has a very low degree of intoxication.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2017 21:20 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Toddy,Liquor Ban,Kerala
A man harvesting toddy from a date palm. (HT File Photo / Representational)

The Kerala Toddy Shop Licensee Association has moved the Supreme Court saying toddy does not fall under the definition of “liquor” and therefore should be exempted from the ban imposed by the apex court on sale of alcohol within 500 metres of a highway.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi issue notice to the central and Kerala governments after the petitioner’s counsel contended that toddy was different from other forms of liquor.

Toddy is a natural drink and has a very low degree of intoxication, the association claimed.

It said the state action amounts to discrimination against those engaged in the business and infringes upon their fundamental right to earn a livelihood.

It pointed out that the state had in 2003 exempted toddy from the application of the rule of observing a dry day. In the Kerala Akbari Act, 1902, toddy has been distinctly defined from spirits, liquor, beer and arrack.

“The respondents (state) have taken toddy to fall under ‘liquor’ as used in the orders of this court, overlooking the fact that though toddy - which has a minuscule quantity of alcohol - finds its mention under the definition of ‘liquor’ under the Kerala Abkari Act. The very fact that toddy has also been separately defined under section 3(8) of the Act shows the legislative intent on treating toddy separate to that from ‘liquor,” the petition said.

However, the fact that toddy has been defined separately as a “fermented or unfermented juice drawn from a coconut, palmyra, date, or any other kind of palm tree” shows the difference between the drink and other forms of liquor, it said.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 21:19 IST