Kerala HC leaves Vijayan govt red-faced, cancels state govt’s ‘liquor prescription’ order for alcoholics


Kochi: In a major embarrassment for the Kerala Government, the High Court here stayed the controversial ‘liquor prescription’ order that was released a couple of days ago which asked doctors to prescribe a fixed amount of alcohol if a person shows acute withdrawal symptoms.

The High Court said that there is no scientific basis to prove that liquor could be prescribed by doctors to ‘treat’ chronic alcoholic cases or those who have withdrawal syndrome.

The government took a strange stand in the court arguing that liquor could be considered as a ‘drug’ to treat patients and to prevent the spiralling deaths. Kerala has so far witnessed nine suicides due to non-availability of liquor following the lockdown.

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The government argued that the challenged order was to prevent further suicide deaths in an extra-ordinary situation triggered by COVID-19 spread and deaths.

But the doctors argued that nowhere is alcohol prescribed as a drug. The argument by the government has no scientific basis. Doctors can, at best, say that a person is chronic alcoholic and that he needs proper treatment.

The court agreed with the stand taken by the doctors’ associations, including the IMA, and stayed the government order for 15 days. The government, in its reaction, said it respects the verdict and the Chief Minister would clarify the government’s stand in his daily briefing in the evening.

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