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Highways with liquor stores will no longer be allowed: Supreme Court

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court banned the granting of liquor licenses along state and national highways as well as within 500 meters of service lanes, or a distance of 500 meters from the outer edge of the highway. For areas under the jurisdiction of local authorities with a population of 20,000 or less, the distance is reduced to 220 meters.

By orders of the apex court, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has periodically requested state governments and UTs to implement the order. Further, under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, an offense of drunken driving is punishable by imprisonment, fine or both. To spread awareness about the dangers of drunken driving, the Ministry conducts print and electronic campaigns.

Nevertheless, MoRTH is concerned with the development of national highways and providing access to properties located along those highways. It has no control over the use of or business conducted on these properties located beyond the right of way of national highways. As this is a state matter, the government does not collect data on the removal of liquor shops.

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The apex court banned liquor sales on both national and state highways in December 2016. In its order, the apex court shut down the issuing of liquor licenses near highways. Furthermore, any advertisement for any liquor shop should not even be visible from state or national highways. However, the order did not apply to existing liquor shops that could operate as long as they still held their licenses.


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