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SC Dismisses Pleas For Modification Of Order On Highway Liquor Ban
 
(NEW DELHI,July 13, 2017):In a huge blow to bars and several hotels across the country, the Supreme Court today dismissed their plea for modification of order banning sale of liquor along state and national highways holding that such requests are ‘unprecedented’ and not maintainable.

The bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also said it will dismiss a petition filed by NGO Arrive Safe Society against a recent Punjab and Haryana HC order allowing the Chandigarh administration to denotify highways within city limits, thus allowing bars and hotels functioning within city limits to re-open.

“We are clear about it. As long as the highways remained highways, sale of liquor within 500 metres was banned. But now they have ceased to be highways. Our judgment was based on intelligible differentia that highways with high speed traffic should be liquor free zones, but traffic is slow within city limits. It said law passed by the legislature or the executive can take away the basis of a judgment but cannot undo or de-legitimise a judgment”, CJI Khehar said.

The court made it clear that it would not entertain any applications from private parties and has restricted itself to interlocutory applications filed by Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.

On July 4 also the apex court refused to interfere with the decision of Chandigarh administration to de-notify state highways.

The denotification, as in many other states, was done apparently to circumvent an earlier court order that banned liquor sale within 500 meters of state and national highways.

The NGO Arrive Safe had approached the court in appeal against an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana high court on 16 March which refused to quash the notification.

It was contended that by denotifying state highways and renaming them major district roads, the Chandigarh administration had made a mockery of the Supreme Court order of 15 December, 2016 setting out the distance criteria.

Calling the notification arbitrary, the plea noted that the notification does not state the reason or criteria for declassifying some roads from “state highways” to “major district roads” while letting some roads remain “state highways”.


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