Liquor ban: Govt to submit petition in SC on Monday

"Following the Supreme Court order pronounced on March 31, around 1,000 out of 3,000-odd outlets (in Goa) that were facing closure, have got a respite", Mr Parrikar told reporters.

Liquor sellers who have outlets along highways are looking for a solution from the West Bengal government after the Supreme Court's ban order that has rendered over 13,000 workers jobless.

The state's stand comes on the backdrop of government's oft repeated policy of bringing prohibition in the state in a gradual manner.

The chief engineer of the Public Works Department, however, said that the process of denotification has nothing to do with the apex court directive.

In Kerala, where the per capita consumption of liquor is one of the highest among Indian states, the order has posed unique challenges for the government. Srikrishna said, "A reading of the SC judgment (dated December 15) would clearly indicate that all observations made by the SC were against permitting liquor vends/shops within certain distance of the highways.The direction also suggests that what is prohibited is visibility of a shop for sale of liquor".

Also, the state government fears that the revenue loss will affect the implementation of various other welfare schemes. "In this regard, the responsibility lies on the local governing bodies, not the Excise department", he said.

The ruling prompted some state and civic authorities to consider denotifying highways to skirt the ban.

"The objective is to check drunken driving and so there is no dilution of the original order passed by this court".

Excise commissioner, Arun Kochar said they had made it clear during the auction of liquor shops for 2017-18 that the 1300 shops along the highways would have to be shifted and even then we are going to registered a 10 per cent hike in revenue compared to past year.

"The special zones like Naval enclaves, airport and other areas where common people do not have access will not be covered under this (top court's) order", he added.

  • Leroy Wright