70 bars to be reopened as Kerala govt denotifies highways

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 24, 2017

The online news outlet LiveLaw said though the order was passed last month, it was published only on Wednesday on the Supreme Court website. Liquor industry sources said with the written copy of the order out, it was only a matter of a few days before the ban on bars, permit rooms and liquor vends within municipal limits was lifted.

The court ordered closure of bars along National Highways on December 15, 2016 as accident cases increased. But in dismissing a special leave petition on July 11, a Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Nageswara Rao held that the order "does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas".

The Excise and Public Works departments had given in-principle nod for the denotification of the State Highways. Maharashtra's excise commissioner Ashwini Joshi said, "I have not read the SC order and not in a position to comment on it".

Six states have already denotified the highways after the Supreme Court imposed restriction on liquor outlets within 500 metres from either side of the highways.

The Kerala government on Wednesday made a decision to denotify some state highways, paving way for the reopening of a good number of liquor outlets.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government had, in June, watered down the previous government's anti-liquor policy and allowed bars rated three-star and above to sell hard liquor. "With the new geographical changes, we are discussing with stakeholders on concluding certain issues", he said.

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