The Supreme Court has clarified that its ban on the sale of liquor within 500 m of highways does not apply to licensed outlets that fall within municipal limits, Live Law reported on Wednesday.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, had said on July 11 that its December 15, 2016, order only dealt with the sale of liquor along and near highways that are “properly understood” and “provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages”.
“We have considered it appropriate to issue this clarification to set at rest any ambiguity,” the court said. The July 11 order was posted on the apex court website only on Wednesday.
This clarification will clear nearly all pending litigation in High Courts on this matter, The Hindu reported. It will also be a huge relief for the hundreds who have lost their jobs since the government’s 2016 ruling.
On December 15, 2016, the apex court had imposed the ban after hearing a plea that claimed that nearly 1.42 lakh people died in road accidents every year, and that drunken driving was a major cause for this. “Drunk driving is a potent cause of fatalities and injuries in road accidents,” the bench had said. “The Constitution preserves and protects the right to life as an over-arching Constitutional value.”
The top court had exempted the states of Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim and places with populations less than 20,000 from the restriction. It had also relaxed the norms for Arunachal Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.