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SC banned States and Union Territories from granting licences for the sale of liquor along National and State highways across country, noting that drunken driving was main culprit behind large number of road accidents in the country.
The prohibition on sale of liquor alongside highways would extend to stretches of such highways that fall within limits of municipal corporations, city towns and local authorities.
The court prohibited signages and advertising of availability of liquor on highways and ordered the existing ones to be removed forthwith from both national and State highways.
It ordered that no shop for sale of liquor should be visible from the National and State highways. Neither should they be directly accessible from the highways nor should they be situated within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of the highways or service lanes.
The judgment is a result of the deep concern the court had expressed recently on the 1.5 lakh fatalities annually in road accidents. It had blamed the Centre and the States for not doing enough as lives were lost on the roads.
Revenue generation could not be a “valid reason” for a state or a Union Territory to give licence for liquor shops on highways.
An analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, resulting in 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour.