SC may re-look its ban on sale of liquor on highways

Violet Powell
April 2, 2017

The court had clarified that all pubs, hotels, and restaurants that serve alcohol along or close to national and state highways will have to drop it from their menus.

"In the case of areas comprised in local bodies with a population of 20,000 people or less, the distance of 500 metres shall stand reduced to 220 metres", the court said in its order. The court said exempting them from the order will defeat the goal of preventing drunk driving.

Two reminders followed on December 1, 2011 and March 18, 2013 seeking urgency as drunken driving had claimed 1.42 lakh out of 4.99 lakh road accidents in the country as on 2011.

Starting today, sale of liquor will not be allowed on highways in accordance with the Supreme Court's decision to shut down liquor vends along the highways.

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The Tamil Nadu Government also moved the top court on March 23 to extend the time for relocation of retail liquor shops till the expiry of their licence period.

Overall, in the six districts of western Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, around 619 shops were covered by the Supreme Court order. We have kept on hold the issuance of the licence till the court verdict comes in. "You have no freedom to drink and drive on the national highway", said Justice Chandrachud, who authored the judgment. A PIL had revealed that nearly 1.42 lakh people died due to road accidents in 2015 alone with around 400 deaths every day. The Supreme Court on Friday refused to give any relief to the stakeholders though it agreed to make certain exceptions in case of hilly States like Sikkim and Meghalaya. The SC has directed the state authorities that those failing to shift the liquor shops should not get licence for the next financial year.

Bengaluru city has the maximum number of liquor shops (286) which will have to be closed down or relocated, followed by Belagavi (222) and Tumakuru (158).

However, a lawyer opposing the relaxation of 500 ban order referred to several advisories issued by the Centre since 2004 asking for curbs on the liquor shops along the highway.

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