Verdict on liquor vends on highways today

States want apex court to rectify earlier verdict

Verdict on liquor vends on highways today
The Supreme Court on Friday will pronounce its order on pleas for a reconsideration of its verdict banning liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways from April 1. The top court said it has not laid down a policy as public health is more important. It also questioned different states which sought relaxation of the guidelines for state highways, saying, “It is not possible to say you can’t drink and drive at national highways, but can do so on state highways.”

Support from states
Supported by different state counsel, including Karnataka, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday contended that the apex court’s December 15 judgement needs rectification as the “budget of the states will go for a six”.

“Errors that may have crept in may be looked at. The error that has crept in is that what is good for national highways is good for state highways,” Rohatgi submitted before a bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar. “All of India cannot be compared. Some towns in totality are situated along the state highways and if you say that liquor vends cannot be allowed in the vicinity of 500 metres then where will they go,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L N Rao.

He further said, “Some exception can be granted to the states to relax the condition especially as far as the state highways are concerned by reducing the limit say to 100 metres.” To this, the bench asked the attorney general to address it on the issue if he thinks the verdict is not justified as the parties have done nothing since December 15, 2016. “You cannot come at the last moment and say relax the conditions. Where were you after December 15,” the court asked the top law officer.

The Supreme Court rejected the plea made by licence holders, saying that they cannot ride on the back of a loss to the state exchequer to claim the right to sell liquor along the highways.

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