The ban on sale of liquor along the national and state highways is not applicable to roads that fall inside the city or town areas governed by municipal bodies, the Supreme Court clarified on Wednesday. In an order dated December 15, 2016, the apex had banned liquor sales within 500 metres of national and state highways in the country.
But on July 11 this year, a Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Nageswara Rao held that the order "does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas. This clarification shall govern other municipal areas as well."
Although the order was passed last month, it was uploaded on SC website yesterday.
"The purpose of the directions contained in the order dated 15 December 2016 is to deal with the sale of liquor along and in proximity of highways properly understood, which provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages," the order said.
"The order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas. This clarification shall govern other municipal areas as well. We have considered it appropriate to issue this clarification to set at rest any ambiguity and to obviate repeated recourse to IAs, before the Court," it said.
The SC made the clarification while dismissing an appeal against the Judgement of Punjab and Haryana High Court which dismissed the challenge against a notification dated 16 March 2017 of Chandigarh administration on the ground that it circumvents the Supreme Court order that banned the sale of liquor along the highways.
Chandigarh highway bars can now serve liquor
Following the SC clarification, hotels and bars on national and state highways in Chandigarh are likely to resume serving of liquor as early as Monday. The December 15 order had affected around 100 hotels and restaurants in the city.
The Chandigarh administration may not have denotify Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg and Himalaya Marg following the SC clarification. The administration was mulling of denotifying these stretches as major district roads which would then permit hoteliers to sell liquor at these places. The ban on liquor had given a deserted look to markets in Sector 26, Sector 35 and Sector 43 - the hub of clubs, bars and microbreweries.