The court had ordered that no liquor vend should be visible, or be directly accessible from a state or national highway. Liquor vends within 500 metres of a highway were to be shut down. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Pubs, hotels, and restaurants along state & national highways will no longer be allowed to serve alchohol
The Supreme Court order banning the sale of liquor along state and national highways comes into effect from today.
The Supreme Court had ruled that no liquor vends should be visible or located within 500 metres of national and state highways in order to check drunk driving, and avoid accidents.
India has the highest number of road accident deaths in the world.
The court had clarified that all pubs, hotels, and restaurants that serve alcohol along or close to national and state highways will have to drop it from their menus.
The order comes into effect from today (Saturday).
The court, however, exempted the hill states of Sikkim and Meghalaya from the order as they had said that since there isn't enough land for home and shops, it would be difficult to find sites for liquor sale, NDTV reported.
News reports said some 50 pubs, restaurants, and hotels located within 500 metres of highways in Delhi would not be able to serve liquor from today.
Gurugram, located in India's national capital region, would also be affected by the Supreme Court's order.
The Hindustan Times said some 34 pubs and bars in Gurugram's plush CyberHub would be sealed.
Sixty-five vends would also be sealed in New Delhi.
A senior excise department official said several teams have been formed to ensure that pubs, hotels, and restaurants -- most of them along the Delhi-Jaipur NH-8 higway -- stop serving liquor.
Some of the major hotels and restaurants located in Aerocity near IGI Airport will be affected by the ruling.
Officials said strict action will be taken against violators.
The SC had directed that no liquor vends should be visible and directly accessible from state and national highways nor should they be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of national and state highways or of the service lane.
As per the top court's order, licenses of existing liquor shops on national and state highways will not be renewed after March 31.
The SC bench had expressed displeasure over the alleged inaction by various states in removing liquor shops along the roads which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities.
In its order on December 15 last year, the SC had noted, "The expressways witnessed 4,208 accident cases, 4,229 injured and 1,802 deaths. Figures are also available of the distribution of road accidents by causes during 2014. About 138,000 persons were injured in road accidents involving dangerous or careless driving and 42,127 deaths occurred."
"Injuries caused in accidents due to over-speeding stood at 1.81 lakh while there were 48,654 deaths. 7,307 accident cases involving driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol were registered resulting in 7,398 injuries and 2,591 deaths," it had noted.
(WION with inputs from PTI)