Thiruvananthapuram, March 19: Senior Kerala Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran on Sunday slammed Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for overriding an apex court ruling on liquor outlets along highways and asked him to resign. Sudheeran said Rohatgi has not done any justice to the constitutional office and failed to fulfil his role as envisaged by Article 72 of the Constitution.
The Congress leader's attack came as Rohatgi advised the Kerala government that bar hotels and beer-wine parlours across the national highways and state highways can be retained.
This was despite a December 2016 ruling by the Supreme Court that banned such sales within 500 metres of the highways across the country. The ruling had forced around 300 such outlets comprising beer and wine parlours, five star hotels and state-owned liquor retail outlets to look for new places in the state.
They were expected to move by the beginning of the new fiscal. "There is every reason to believe that the said advice (by Rohatgi) was given at the behest of a few bar hotel owners in the state," Sudheeran said. He also slammed the Attorney General for appearing for a bar hotel owner in a case challenging the erstwhile Kerala government's liquor policy "even while holding the esteemed office".
"Such appearance was neither fair nor ethical. I am pained to say that your above said conduct was not correct - legally, constitutionally, ethically or politically," added the former president of the Congress party who quit last week, owing to his poor health. "It is therefore my considered view that you have not done justice to the constitutional office that you hold and I can only make an earnest request to you to give up the constitutional seat," Sudheeran said.