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SC open to liquor sale on city highways (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper II)

‘Chandigarh administration’s move to de-notify certain roads does not violate orders’

The Supreme Court on prima facie observed that there may be nothing wrong in de-notifying particular stretches of highways running inside city limits as city roads and such de-classification does not violate its order that national and State highways across the country should be liquor-free zones.

Rationale by Supreme Court
A Bench of Supreme Court orally observed that the purpose of the December 15, 2016 prohibition on the sale of liquor within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of national and State highways was to prevent drunken driving on high-speed thoroughfares.

Clarification by SC
The relief is palpable among these establishments as the court had in March 2017 clarified that the ban was not restricted to just liquor shops alongside the highways but also to other larger establishments, including pubs and hotels.

The court had said exempting establishments other than “shops involved in sale of liquor” — which include bar-attached hotels, wine and beer parlours dotting highways — would amount to dilution of its December 15 judgment’s objective to prevent drunk driving, one of the major killers plaguing Indian roads.

“The pernicious nature of the sale of liquor along the national and State highways cannot be ignored. Drunken driving is a potent source of fatalities and injuries in road accidents. The Constitution preserves and protects the right to life as an over-arching constitutional value,” the clarification order had observed.

(Adapted from The Hindu)



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