The Supreme Court’s decision last week to ban sales of alcohol up to 500 metres from all national and state highways has inspired so much consternation that on Monday, Minister of Culture Manoj Sharma had to say the government will find a “middle path” on the issue. At stake are thousands of jobs and millions in business and tax revenues which could be lost because the court felt banning the sale of alcohol in stores, restaurants and hotels anywhere near a highway might lead to drunken driving.
State governments across the country have already begun thinking of technical ways to get around the ban, the most common of which is to simply denotify roads as highways, meaning the ban wouldn’t apply to them. In the middle of major cities, where highways often pass through and finding new spaces might be hard to do, bars and hotels are less sure about what they can do.
But some have found a way.
The general presumption from most people, however, was that outlets and governments will simply resort to these sort of technicalities to get around the prohibition. As it is, though the Supreme Court verdict essentially says its decision was based on opinions made by the Centre – and hence does not count as judicial overreach – the 500-metre requirement seems to not be based on any exact reasoning. There is little data also to defend the ban applying specifically to national and state highways, not all roads.
As can be expected, this prompted plenty of humour on what workarounds might show up.
Others also joked about what it might mean to be drinking anyway near major roads in this day and age, and its historical implications.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.