The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the idea behind its verdict banning the sale of liquor along the highways was that a driver should not be under the influence of liquor at places where there is high-speed traffic. A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing an appeal by an NGO against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing its plea.
The plea was filed in the High Court by Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh, an NGO, challenging a notification by the Chandigarh administration which denotified state highways and converted them into district roads to allow continued sale of liquor despite the apex court judgment.
“There are city roads and there are roads outside the city. There are congested roads. The idea behind the judgement was that in a fast moving traffic, you should not be under the influence of liquor,” the bench said, adding that there was a difference between the city roads and the highways.
It asked the petitioner NGO to consider its stand of opposing the decision of the Chandigarh administration to denotify state highways and adjourned the hearing on the appeal to July 11. “You think on what we are telling you. We will pass an order on next Tuesday,” the bench said.
The apex court, in December last year, had banned sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways across the nation from April one this year. The NGO, in its plea, has alleged that in a bid to circumvent the order, the Chandigarh administration denotified the state highways to allow the sale of liquor even after March 31. The High Court refused to quash the notification. It was contended that by denotifying state highways and renaming them as major district roads, the Chandigarh administration had made a mockery of the Supreme Court order setting out the distance criteria.