Liquor Stores Banned Along Highways, Expressways Across India: What Does This Mean?
The Supreme Court has issued directions to put a stop on the grant of licenses for liquor stores for sale on national and state highways. It has also prohibited the same for a distance of over 500 metres from the outer edge of the mentioned area or of a service lane along the highway.
For areas under the jurisdiction of local bodies with a population of at most 20,000 people, the prohibited distance for liquor grants have been reduced to 220 metres from 500 metres.
Speaking on this issue at the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari clarified that the ministry deals with only the matters related to development of national highways and providing access to properties situated along the national highways.
It has no control on the usage of and business run in these properties located beyond the Right of Way (ROW) of national highways. Government does not collect data on removal of liquor shops as this is a state subject.
No New Licenses to be Issued for Liquor Stores on National & State Highways
The apex court has directed to not issue new licenses for liquor stores to operate on national and state highways, in extension to 500 metres outside the edge of the area, or a service lane of the highway.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has abided by the court’s directions and has asked all the state governments and union territories to put a check on the action regularly.
Furthermore, as per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, cases of drunk driving will lead to imprisonment or fine, or both.
The MoRTH is also holding campaigns through media to spread awareness of the dangerous effects of drunk driving.
While there will be no restriction of operations to liquor shops already functioning on national and state highways, the Supreme Court in 2016 had put a stop on issuance of new licenses for liquor shops in and around these areas.