The Kerala high court on Thursday stayed the state government's decision to issue special passes to tipplers, who have withdrawal symptoms due to non-availability of liquor in view of coronavirus lockdown, to get it on doctor's prescription, saying it was a 'recipe for disaster'.
"This is disturbing... This is a recipe for disaster," the court said in its oral observations and also questioned the state government whether it could prove withdrawal symptoms can be treated by the use of alcohol.
Staying the order for three weeks on a batch of petitions, including that of the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA), challenging it, a bench comprising Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly granted a week's time to the government to file its response.
The government had issued the order early this week, despite objection from the doctors' association, to supply liquor to tipplers under prescription during the 21-day lockdown initiated to counter the spread of novel coronavirus.
The bench expressed concern over the government order prescribing alcohol to persons suffering from alcohol withdrawal syndrome and said such a remedy is not supported by any document in the medical literature.
In its order, the government has said following the lockdown and closure of liquor outlets in the state, there were instances of social issues including frustration and suicidal tendencies shown by those who consumed liquor regularly and hence a decision was taken to initiate steps to resolve the matter.
The order also said that those who have physical and mental issues due to withdrawal symptoms could be provided liquor in a 'controlled' and 'prescribed' manner.