The state government order allowing the sale of liquor to those suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms has been stayed by the Kerala High Court on Thursday for three weeks.
A Divisional Bench comprising Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issued the stay order.
They were listening to a writ petition filed by GS Vijayakrishnan, Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMO) general secretary who had challenged the government’s order.
The Kerala government recently passed an order in which it allowed the sale of liquor to those suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms on the basis of a prescription given by a government doctor.
Challenging the order Vijayakrishnan said, “The order required a government doctor to certify that a patient was having withdrawal symptom to enable him to obtain a pass for buying liquor.”
“Even if a liquor addict may suffer from Alcohol Dependence Syndrome (ADS) commonly called as “withdrawal symptoms due to non -availability of liquor, however, the prescription of liquor for such person by a doctor is unethical and goes against the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.”
“Moreover, it is also against the valid guidelines issued by the Health Services Director to deal with the issues of ADS affected persons,” Vijayakrishnan added.
In the petition, Vijayakrishnan further said, “A registered medical practitioner cannot refer a patient with ADS to excise officials to fix the quantity of liquor to be sold to him.”
The Kerala government had issued the order after it was reported that 10 persons had allegedly committed suicide after suffering from alcoholic problems.
Vijayakrishnan in the petition further said, “No psychological autopsy or even preliminary inquiry has been conducted to verify the cause of death.”
“If one studies closely then one can see that the number of suicides in the state has come down during the last few days,” Vijayakrishnan added.