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The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Punjab Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to allow the sale of liquor at hotels, clubs and restaurants, located within 500 metres of state and national highways, thereby circumventing the Supreme Court order, banning the sale of liquor from these outlets.
The bill stated: “Punjab had decided to amend the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, to ensure that the hotels, restaurants, clubs and other notified places are allowed the supply of alcohol only for consumption within their premises to secure livelihood of a large segment of the state’s population. However, there shall be restriction on the opening of liquor vends on or within 500 metres of highways.”
The amendment has inserted clauses to differentiate liquor vend from hotels, restaurants and clubs. While liquor vends sell liquor, hotels, restaurants and clubs only serve alcohol for consumption within the premises. By way of amendment in the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, the definition of “liquor vend”, “club” and “hotel” has been changed besides differentiating between the “sale” and “supply” of liquor.
According to the amendment, the “sale of liquor” means the “transfer of liquor for consideration by a liquor vend for consumption by the purchaser at a place other than the premises of liquor vend”.
The “supply of liquor” means the “provision of liquor for consideration at clubs, hotels, restaurants and any other notified place on the basis of a licence issued on the condition that such liquor shall be consumed within the premises of such hotels, clubs, restaurant and other notified place”.
Further, the liquor vends would mean “retail shops that are licensed to sell liquor and shall not include any hotels, clubs or restaurants or any other notified place”.