Supreme Court confirms: Alcohol ban on highways will include bars and restaurants
Supreme court confirmed that alcohol ban on highways will include bars and restaurants. Earlier the court clarified that prohibiting the sale of liquor within 500m of national and state highways is not restricted just to liquor shops but includes other large establishments as well.
As exempting certain establishments will dilute the basic objective behind the order, which is to prevent drunk driving. This is one of the major cause of accidents and fatalities on Indian roads.
But cities, towns and municipal areas with a population of 20,000 or less will be allowed sale of liquor beyond a range of 220m from highways and not 500m as was stated in the earlier order.
The order exempts states like Sikkim and Meghalaya, where it is impossible to relocate most of the liquor shops due to topographical constraints.
Opinion of the Attorney general:
Earlier the legal opinion provided by the Attorney general to the Kerala government stated that the ambit of the December 15 judgment would be confined only to retail liquor outlets and not bigger establishments like hotels and restaurants that serve alcohol along highways.
Objective behind the order:
- The objective is to check drunken driving which is a major cause of road accidents in the country.
- Major causes of road accidents in our country are distracted and reckless driving, design defects on roads and drunken driving
Constitutional value of the order:
- Right to life as a constitutional value is protected by the constitution. The duty to protect public health and safety overrides the interest of liquor traders.
- The directives were issued in public interest as the lives of millions of people was at stake and the state government had failed to formulate a uniform policy to ban liquor vends along highways.
- The court even reminded the state governments of their constitutional obligation, whereby revenue generation cannot be the sole criteria to let these vends continue along highways. This at the risk of giving rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities.