Liquor ban: SC tells state to consider hotels' plea

The Supreme Court has asked the Karnataka government to consider the plea of over 1,000 hotels which served liquor to their guests and customers but suffered adverse consequences of the apex court’s ban on such vends around national and state highways. File photo

The Supreme Court has asked the Karnataka government to consider the plea of over 1,000 hotels which served liquor to their guests and customers but suffered adverse consequences of the apex court’s ban on such vendors around national and state highways.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud told Additional Advocate General Devadatt Kamat, representing the state government, to decide the plea by the Karnataka State Tourism Hotel Owners Association' and others within six weeks.

The hotel owners, led by senior advocate H N Nagmohan Das, challenged a Karnataka High Court judgement of June 30, 2017, that had declined to interfere into the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on the sale of liquor around 500 metres of national highways and 220 metres of state highways.

The bench, however, said that the court had already clarified the order on February 23 this year and earlier as well. The top court had then said the state government would have discretion to declare a particular area to be under the local self-government and municipal limits.

The court had, on July 11, 2017, exempted municipal areas from the prohibition, saying the ban was intended to cover national and state highways inter-connecting cities, towns and villages on the way.

The ban, imposed by a December 2016 judgement, was to prevent drunken driving and road accidents along these thoroughfares. “The order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas,” it had clarified.

The hotel owners felt aggrieved with the Supreme Court’s order as their premises fell within a range of 500 and 220 metres. They claimed they were having permanent buildings with over 20 and 30 rooms, which cannot be shifted. They said they used to sell liquor to guests, casual visitors and customers only.

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Liquor ban: SC tells state to consider hotels' plea

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