Liquor shops, bars closed on April 20 over SC ban

Liquor shops, bars closed on April 20 over SC ban

Liquor shops and bars across Karnataka will remain closed for a day on April 20 in protest against the Supreme Court’s order banning sale of liquor along state and national highways.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Friday, office-bearers of the Federation of Wine Merchants’ Associations of Karnataka said 6,018 outlets including bars and restaurants have to be shut or relocate by July 1, the day on which the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways comes into effect in Karnataka.

Federation General Secretary B Govindaraj Hegde said thousands of people will be affected due to the court order and the total losses suffered by licence holders is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore.

Hegde said the federation will soon prevail upon the state government to request the intervention of the Centre to make a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court to reconsider its order under Article 143 of the Constitution. A memorandum in this regard will be submitted to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah soon, he added.

District units of the federation will be submitting similar memoranda to jurisdictional deputy commissioners between April 15 and 18. The federation will also request the state government to denotify at least a few stretches of state highways and classify them as major district roads to circumvent the ban.
When pointed out that the Supreme Court has given shop owners the option to relocate from the highways, Hegde said such a recourse is commercially not viable.

Hegde said the Karnataka government can come to the rescue of the liquor shops affected by the Supreme Court order by amending Rule 5 of the Karnataka Excise Licenses (General Conditions), 1967, and allow them to continue with their business.

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