Supreme Court of India has clarified that the high way liquor ban imposed by it is not applicable to licenced bars and beverages outlets within municipal area.
The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Nageswara Rao made the clarification while dismissing an appeal against the Judgement of Punjab and Haryana High Court which dismissed the challenge against a notification dated 16 March 2017 of Chandigarh administration on the ground that it circumvents the Supreme Court Judgment in K.Balu Vs State of Tamil Nadu.
Though the Supreme Court dismissed the petitions on July 11, the order was published in the website on Wednesday only.
“The purpose of the directions contained in the order dated 15 December 2016 is to deal with the sale of liquor along and in proximity of highways properly understood, which provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages. The order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas. This clarification shall govern other municipal areas as well. We have considered it appropriate to issue this clarification to set at rest any ambiguity and to obviate repeated recourse to IAs, before the Court”.
The Court also made it clear that the Balu judgment prohibited the grant of licences for the sale of liquor along and in proximity of the National and State Highways including those falling within the limits of municipal corporations, cities, towns or local authorities.
“Directions (i) and (ii) extracted did not prevent the Administration from re-classifying inter-sectoral roads within the city from state highways to major district roads. The exercise carried out by Chandigarh Administration does not breach the directions issued by this Court. It is neither in violation of the terms of the order nor of the purpose and intendment behind those directions”.
In the main Judgment SC had issued the following directions
“(i) All states and union territories shall forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways;
(ii)The prohibition contained in (i) above shall extend to and include stretches of such highways which fall within the limits of a municipal corporation, city, town or local authority;
(iii)The existing licences which have already been renewed prior to the date of this order shall continue until the term of the licence expires but no later than 1 April 2017;
(iv)All signages and advertisements of the availability of liquor shall be prohibited and existing ones removed forthwith both on national and state highways;
(v)No shop for the sale of liquor shall be (i) visible from a national or state highway; (ii) directly accessible from a national or state highway and (iii) situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of a service lane along the highway;
(vi)All States and Union territories are mandated to strictly enforce the above directions. The Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police shall within one month chalk out a plan for enforcement in consultation with the state revenue and home departments. Responsibility shall be assigned inter alia to District Collectors and Superintendents of Police and other competent authorities. Compliance shall be strictly monitored by calling for fortnightly reports on action taken;
(vii)These directions issue under Article 142 of the Constitution”
Read the Order Here