Liquor ban: Chandigarh hoteliers protest against Supreme Court order

Cheryl Sanders
April 6, 2017

The states had argued that since there isn't enough land for homes and shops, it would be hard to find sites for liquor sale.

As per the top court's order, licences of existing liquor shops on national and state highways will not be renewed after March 31.

For civic areas with populations higher than 20,000, and stretches of highways that do not fall within municipal areas, the limit remains 500 metres.

Ujjai: After Supreme Court ordered a ban on sale of liquor on national and state highways, liquor shops on highway in Ujjain district got sealed by the excise department at late Friday.

"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.

Going by advocate general Mukul Rohatgi's opinion that the SC order pertained only to liquor vends, the state had initially proposed to remove 850 shops from near highways and let 9,075 bars go on functioning. A petitioner who became disabled because of a road accident chose to to take his battle against drunken driving to court, which promptly decides that it needs to ban liquor shops near major roads.

The court had also directed that no hoardings should be put up advertising their proximity to the highways.

In Delhi, the court verdict will lead to closure of about 50 liquor vends and cost another 65 hotels and restaurants, located along the six national highways that criss-cross the national capital, their licence to serve liquor. How can taking a shop or restaurant 500 metres away curb "the don't drink and drive" norm. In Jharkhand, the state government has begun a crackdown on liquor shops.

The court had reportedly relaxed the rules in Telangana and Maharashtra previously because the excise year of those states was yet to end. It clarified that licences given to liquor vendors prior to the December 15 judgement would be valid up to the 30th of September this year.

The government has launched fresh initiatives to make roads safer, including revamping infrastructure and proposed stringent laws.

Some are also predicting that the liquor business in the state will collapse by the SC order. This comes to around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths every day.

State excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule told reporters on Saturday that out of 25,000 licensed units, 15,000 were set to pull down shutters in view of the court order.

Other reports by iNewsToday