The court giving a deadline of March 31 for closure of all the liquor shops located on highways.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear tomorrow a batch of petitions seeking modification of its December 2016 order banning liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways across the country with a view to preventing accidents caused due to drunken driving.
With the court giving a deadline of March 31 for closure of all the liquor shops located on highways, several states and liquor shop licencees have sought modification of the order and to extend the time limit by six to eight months to comply with the order.
A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul assured attorney general-Mukul Rohatgi and other senior lawyers that the matters will be listed for hearing on Thursday. The AG informed the court that though the petitioners and others were waiting in the court hall 9 on Monday for the hearing listed at 3 pm, the matter could not be heard as the bench did not assemble.
To this the CJI said, “If Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (who is to hear the petitions along with Justice L. Nageswara Rao) is not available tomorrow, then I will constitute a separate bench.” The AG submitted that the directions for closure of liquor shops along the highways will come into effect from April 1 and this leads to a situation where urgent hearing is needed.
Kerala, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu are some of the states which had sought modification of the order. The All-Assam Indian Made Foreign Liquors Retailers’ Association wanted modification of the order, saying it virtually banned liquor shops in the state.
The apex court, in its December 15, 2016 judgment, had ordered a ban on all liquor shops along national as well as state highways across the country.