High Court notice to states on liquor vends along highways
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today put on notice the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), on a plea for immediate removal of vends serving, selling or supplying liquor within 500 metres of the national and state highways.The notice by the Bench of Justice AK Mittal and Justice Amit Rawal came on a petition filed in public interest by NGO ArriveSafe through its president Harman Singh Sidhu.Among other things, Sidhu also prayed for the removal of advertisements, hoardings, signs, signage and even decorative lights being displayed. Directions were also sought against the issuance of licences for sale and serving of liquor within 500 metres of the national and state highways in violation of the Supreme Court judgment.Sidhu submitted that the Supreme Court while disposing of a bunch of petitions on December 15, 2016, directed that the states and Union Territories would forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways.It was also ordered that all signage and advertisements on the availability of liquor would be prohibited and existing ones removed forthwith both on national and state highways. He added that the SC had also asked all states and Union Territories to strictly enforce the directions.Sidhu asserted that the purpose behind SC directions was to exterminate the bane of drunken driving from the highways. “However the state governments instead of recognising the concern of the SC, have shown a narrow pedantic approach just for the sake of revenue.“The apex court verdict leaves no ambiguity in stating that the ban on sale of liquor within a buffer distance is not only qua the liquor vends rather applies to all such places where liquor is sold/ served/supplied within a vicinity of 500 metres of national or state highways”, Sidhu added.