The Supreme Court ordered ban on sale of liquor on all state and national highways on Thursday. The court also ordered the closure of all the liquor stores in and around National Highways.
However the court also gave some breather to the shops. The court said that “they can operate till March 31, 2017. No renewal of their licenses would be made thereafter.”
Liquor license awarding has been a major issue. The court lashed at states for not working in accord with the Centre. The center has advised the state to not give licenses to the vendors on the highways.
Instead, the states have increased the number of licenses. The first communiqué was released in 2007, since then the Centre has been sending notices to the states.
The court bench was headed by Justice Thakur. He also said that “We would not like any vendor on national highways, state highways, advertisements, or signage about the availability of such liquor shops. We will direct all highway authorities to remove all sign boards. It should be absolutely free from any distraction or attractions. It should not be visible. Visibility is the first temptation.”
The court came heavily of states like Punjab. The bench also noted that “Look at the number of licenses Punjab has given. Because the lobby is so powerful, everyone is happy. The excise department is happy, the excise minister is happy and the state government is also happy that they are making money. If a person dies due to this, you give Rs one or 1.5 lakh. That is it. You should take a stand which is helpful for the society.”
Road Accident data analysis shows that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths took place every day on Indian roads in 2015. This also means that 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour was reported in 2015.
The court also asked authorities to adopt a positive attitude to remove the menace. It said that revenue generation cannot be a valid reason for awarding licenses. Various drunken driving and consequential fatalities have been reported due to such decisions.