The Supreme Court today agreed to hear after summer vacation a plea challenging a decision of Chandigarh administration to denotify certain roads allegedly with an aim to “circumvent” its verdict banning liquor vends within 500 metres from the state and national highways. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, however, observed that the decision to denotify must have been taken to ensure the flow of funds required to maintain the roads.
However, it later said it was not expressing any opinion and simply posting the matter for hearing in July after the summer break. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, on March 16, issued a notification denotifying 12 highway stretches that pass through the garden city.
An NGO, Arrive Safe Society, of Chandigarh has alleged that the administration issued the notification to bypass Supreme Court’s December 15, 2016 order banning liquor vends in national and state highways.
The NGO had moved the top court after Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed its plea holding that it could not refer any law which has been violated while issuing the said notification.
“To circumvent and scuttle down the effect of the orders/directions passed by this court on December 15 last year, the Chandigarh administration has come up with the idea of denotifying the already notified state highways and declaring them as ‘major district roads’ vide notification dated March 16,” the plea said while seeking stay on the implementation of the notification.’
On March 31, the apex court had ruled that liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to shut down, while exempting the hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas having a population of up to 20,000.
On the issue of non-extension of liquor vends’ licences beyond March 31, the apex court said the licences given before December 15, 2016, will be valid till September 30 in case of Telangana and they would be operational till June 30 in Andhra Pradesh.
The court’s decision came on pleas seeking a relook at its verdict banning liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways from April 1 with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi having said that the judgement needs rectification as the “budget of the states will go for a six”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines