SC reserves order on plea seeking liquor outlets on highways

New Delhi, March 30  The Supreme Court on Thursday 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.

A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao said that in the “interest of the public health” the liquor shops were ordered to be removed to a distance of 500 meters from either side of the highways.

The bench said that asking the state government to shift the liquor shops was not impinging on the excise policy of different states as it was only a matter of distance of the outlets from the highways.

Even the excise policy says that liquor shops can be located at a certain distance from the highways, it said.

“We have not tested the excise policy. You have no freedom to drink and drive on the national highway,” said Justice Chandrachud, who authored the December 15 judgment.

The court said this as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and several other senior lawyers including K.K. Venugopal, C.A. Sundram, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Raju Ramachandran and others told the court that its December 15 ban was hurting the state exchequer and the order was unconstitutional.


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