KALEE, India– The Supreme Court in a major judgment has set up an all-India body to regulate keating restaurants, as the Karnataka government moves to enact a bill to restrict them in the state.
The court in a landmark judgment said the state government has to set up a regulatory body, as there are more than 500 establishments in the country that sell alcohol to people under 18, as well as in other states.
Kerala has more than 1,500 keating shops and more than 70 percent of the population lives in the northeast state.
The ruling came after a four-day hearing in which a lawyer for the government, Ramesh S. Kaleel, challenged the constitutionality of the bill, saying it violates the right to freedom of speech.
Kaleel’s challenge came after the state legislature passed a bill in April that requires establishments selling alcohol to be licensed by the government and requires them to serve alcohol only to minors and under 18 years old.
However, the court said it has no jurisdiction over the state as it is governed by the constitution and the Indian constitution, which is not a law.
Under the bill approved in April, establishments selling alcoholic beverages to children and under the age of 18 must obtain a license from the liquor department, which will issue them a certificate of licence.
In the meantime, the government has issued licences to establishments that do not follow the law, but still serve alcohol to minors.
Officials have said that the government is reviewing the case and will take appropriate steps.
The court said the bill is also vague and could be abused by those who want to sell alcohol in private.