SC reserves order on plea seeking liquor outlets on highways

SC reserves order on plea seeking liquor outlets on highways

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on a batch of petitions - both by some states and private parties - seeking modification of its order banning liquor vendors along national and state highways.

The SC had directed that no liquor vends should be visible and directly accessible from state and national highways nor should they be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of national and state highways or of the service lane.

The Supreme Court slightly modified its the previous order to say that in municipal areas with populations of 20,000 or less, the ban would apply only to liquor vends and bars located within 220 metres of highways.

The apex court had in October a year ago stayed the operation of the Patna High Court verdict quashing the state's law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor. However the new order from the SC has cleared all doubts. As the apex court order will affect over 3,000 liquor joints and shops in the state, the traders have pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for a solution.

The top court by its December 15, 2016 order had banned the liquor shops within 500 metres on the either side of the national and state highways.

Meanwhile, Goa Excise department has began enforcing the Supreme Court directive banning roadside liquor outlets from today onwards. Mr Sandhu wanted to make the roads safer for everyone. In Maharashtra, reports suggest, the ruling could impact over 8,000 establishments. A PIL had revealed that nearly 1.42 lakh people died due to road accidents in 2015 alone with around 400 deaths every day. Thousands of liquor shops across the country will have to shut shop due to the SC order.

The bench noted that the object of stopping drunk driving will be diluted if distance ban was restricted to only vends and so bars, pubs and restaurants on highways should also come under ban.

The outlets identified by the state government for closure are liquor shops with CL-2 licence (retail shops with licences for vending liquor but not serving liquor on the premises) and do not include pubs, restaurants and hotels.

The court had ordered a ban on all liquor shops along the national as well as the state highways and had made it clear that licences of existing shops will not be renewed after March 31.

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