Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
Litigation News

Deep sense of exasperation, a tinge of disgust: Kerala HC slaps Rs 50k costs for plea seeking online alcohol sale amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Meera Emmanuel

A plea seeking the online delivery of alcohol, made amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, recently led the Kerala High Court to impose Rs 50,000 as costs for the “the total insensitivity of a litigant to the interests and well being of his fellow citizens" (Jyothish G. vs. State of Kerala).

Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar commenced his judgment on a blunt note that,

“It is with a deep sense of exasperation and a tinge of disgust that I write this judgment in a writ petition filed by a citizen of this country, who has approached this Court seeking a seemingly innocuous direction…”

Kerala High Court

The petitioner had approached the Court over a representation made to the State to make available liquor for delivery through online platforms, given that it was unsafe to go to crowded liquor outlets during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The judge remarked that under normal circumstances, the petition would have been dismissed given that the petition has no right to the reliefs sought and since it concerned a matter of State policy.

The writ petition would have therefore been dismissed by finding that the reliefs sought for therein cannot be granted, and that the petition itself was one filed by a person looking for cheap popularity through its institution before this Court”, the Court said.

However, the petitioner’s decision to move the High Court at a time when steps were being taken to decongest public areas to minimise the risk of spreading the virus drew the Court’s ire. Justice Nambiar remarked,

“What has irked this Court in the present writ petition, however, is not so much the prayer sought for therein, but the circumstances under which it was filed before this Court. Consequent to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, our State has been under severe pressure to develop and adopt adequate measures to help contain the spread of the virus.”

Kerala High Court

The judge added,

“The instant case is yet another one, in a series of such petitions that have been filed in this Court, that manifests the total insensitivity of a litigant to the interests and well being of his fellow citizens, whose presence within the portals of this Institution, is necessitated in connection with a consideration of the case instituted by him. One cannot help but lament at the selfishness of the petitioner in the instant case, and others like him in Society, whose obsession with perceived “rights” blinds them to the obligatory 'duty' that they owe to their fellow citizens.”

Kerala High Court

Therefore, the Court proceeded to impose Rs 50,000 as costs on the petitioner, which was ordered to be deposited with the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, within two weeks. The judge observed,

“The petitioner's conduct in filing this frivolous petition at a time like this, while making a mockery of the salutary concept of access to justice, which this institution strives to guarantee, also ridicules the functioning of this noble institution. For the said reckless, insensitive and insolent action, the petitioner cannot be let away lightly.”
Kerala High Court

[Read the Judgment]

Jyothish G. vs. State of Kerala.pdf
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