SC reserves order on liquor outlets along highways

In Saharanpur, said Prasad, 152 wine shops were running along highways and so far only 52 have been relocated.

"All of India can not be compared".

Excise Commissioner Menino D'Souza has said that around 3,200 liquor vendors in Goa have been served notice by the Commission. He said that the concerned departments have been asked to study files and give exact status about the highways in Goa. "Where were you after December 15", it said.

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

Some states have sought to extend the deadline or decrease the distance to 100 meters for state highways while a few states have sought a recall of the order.

The submission did not go well with the bench which told him, "Do not carry the state piggyback". Smuggling of illicit liquor will increase manifold and at the same time, we will see a revenue loss of around Rs 70 crore per annum. He said the government may also seek to get a "special consideration" from the apex court for the tourist state.

The bench said, "Whatever exercise has been taken in the judgement is under the rule".

They warned that curbing sale of liquor on the highways poses a law and order challenge due to the enormous supply of liquor - smuggled from neighbouring states and locally brewed in far flung rural areas, especially in bordering districts of UP. The judgement in the instant case was on the policy of the Centre and the judgement does not supplant the rules and after the judgement, many states made a decision to amend the law.

Sudhakaran said the Excise Commissioner has been entrusted with the responsiblity to take necessary steps for approaching the Apex Court to seek time to implement the directive.

The verdict had come on a PIL alleging that almost 1.42 lakh people died per year in road mishaps and that the drunken driving is a major contributor.

It had also directed that all signages indicating the presence of liquor vends will be prohibited along national and state highways.

  • Leroy Wright