Mere Smell Of Alcohol Does Not Mean The Person Is Intoxicated: HC

The Kerala High Court on Monday ruled that alcohol consumption in private places does not constitute an offence, as long as it does not cause any nuisance in the public, the Bar and Bench reported.

The court also observed that the mere smell of alcohol does not mean that the person was intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol.


The single-judge bench of Justice Sophy Thomas quashed the proceedings against the petitioner by observing that a person should be found in a public place in an intoxicated manner or rioting condition wherein he is incapable of looking after him in order to be booked.

The court also referred to the definition of ‘intoxication’ as per Black’s Law dictionary to prove this point. The definition reads: “A diminished ability to act with full mental and physical capabilities because of alcohol or drug consumption; drunkenness.”

The court was ruling on a petition in which the petitioner was booked under Section 118(a) of the Kerala Police Act for appearing under the influence of alcohol before a police station.

The petitioner, represented by advocates IV Pramod, KV Sasidharan and Saira Souraj, submitted that he had been invited to the police station for identifying an accused, and by failing to do so, the police had created a false case against him.

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