Roads within city exempted from highway liquor ban: SC

SC clears decks for sale of liquor in bars along highways within city limits

The court also said that its order banning the sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways was to ensure that those driving high-speed vehicles don't drive under the influence of alcohol. "The spirit of the judgement is to prevent availability of liquor close by the highways", he said. The (Union) ministry and NHAI have issued a clarification that if there is a bypass, roads within the city will cease to be national highways.

Now, yesterday's statement by Supreme court has brought miles long smiles on not pubs and restaurants' owners, but also the booze lovers, especially in Chandigarh and Bengaluru.

"Why court gave the order is because when you are in fast-moving traffic, you should not be under the influence of anything...the goal was to ensure that people don't stop in the way, suppose when they are driving from Delhi to Agra, have a drink and then drive", said CJI Khehar.

The court, however, agreed to hear the petition on July 11.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said there is nothing wrong with states denotifying highways within cities to avoid having to shut down liquor shops and bars.

Following which, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice to the Punjab government.

The SC, while making this observation, was cautious not to pass any order as it asked the petitioner to study this aspect and report back on whether any of the de-notified State highways were indeed roads with fast moving traffic extending beyond city limits.

"We are following the developments in the Supreme Court keenly and will strictly go by its orders", said a senior officer of the Telangana Prohibition and Excise (P&E) Department in the light of the apex court's observation that denotifying certain stretches of highways inside the city limits as city roads does not violate its order that highways be liquor-free zones.When contacted, P&E Commissioner R. Chandravadan said he had read the observation.

L K Atheeq, principal secretary to the chief minister said: "Obviously, the state government does not have the power to denotify any national highway".

Notwithstanding the SC observation, 3,515 outlets that remain shut from July 1 will continue to be out of business, with the state's proposal seeking denotification of 858km of national highways, including 77.64km in Bengaluru alone, yet to get a positive response from the Centre.

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