Thiruvananthapuram: In a setback to the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the Kerala High Court stayed its order to deliver liquor to those with alcohol withdrawal symptoms with a doctor's certificate on Thursday.
The state government had issued an order on March 30, stating that individuals with alcohol withdrawal symptoms can apply for a liquor pass, but have to produce a doctor's prescription for the same.
The division bench has put a stay on the order for three weeks after three petitions were filed in the High Court. Congress MP from Thrissur, T N Prathapan, is one of the petitioners.
The government’s order has received flak from many, including the medical community.
The Kerala Government Medical Officer's Association (KGMOA) had protested against the move and observed a black day, stating that alcohol addiction is a disease and alcohol cannot be cure for it.
“The treatment for alcohol addiction is not alcohol. It will be like inflaming the disease. If there is a government order, then anyone can approach us and demand for a certificate. Doctors can be threatened to give this certificate. During this time, when we are fighting against COVID-19, many people will rush to the hospital to get this," Dr Syam Sunder, physician and KGMOA former president, said.
The doctor added that alcohol withdrawal symptoms have to be certified by a psychiatrist over a period of one week.
Meanwhile, Prathapan said that he will continue to fight against the. “The government’s decision gives a very bad signal to the medical community who is fighting covid-19,” the Congress MP said.
The government order said that anyone can approach the excise officials with a doctor's certificate and passes will be issued after crosschecking. Once a pass is issued, it will be sent to the BEVCO, (the state beverages’ corporation), which will then decide the quantity and only then Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) will be delivered to them at their doorstep.
About 20 such pass requests were received by the excise department on the first day itself.