New Delhi, March 31, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday has ruled that in areas where the population is less than 20,000 distance will be around 220 meters instead of 500 meters as ruled earlier to ban liquor vends along highways across the country from April 1.
Following this several state liquor associations had resented the decision and told apex court that 500 meter is much higher and should be reduced.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi also agreed with the associations and said that the 500-metre distance should be reduced. On Wednesday, SC, however, observed that life is more important than liquor.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and S.K. Kaul, had assured on Tuesday a battery of lawyers led by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that it will ensure that the matters are heard before April 1, 2017.
To that, the Chief Justice had said that even if Justice D.Y. Chandrachud is not available tomorrow, I will constitute a separate Bench.”
Hearing in the matter had commenced Wednesday when the court had observed that it might reconsider its order.
On Thursday, arguing against the ban, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked what would happen to the small municipal areas which are on state highways and fall within this limit. Aryama Sundaram, counsel for the hotel and bar associations, cited the example of the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi, which is along the highway.
The court, in its December 15 order last year, called for a ban on all liquor shops along all highways and made it clear that licences of the existing shops will not be renewed after March 31. The apex court order also directed that all signages indicating the presence of liquor vends will be prohibited along the highways.