LIQUOR PRO­HI­BI­TION: ON STATE AS WELL AS NA­TIONAL HIGH­WAYS STATE OF TAMIL NADU V. K. BALU [SSC ON­LINE SC 1487, DE­CIDED ON 15.12.2016]

Libertatem Magazine - - From The Courtroom -

FACTS

The Apex Court was con­cerned over 1 lakh fa­tal­i­ties every year in road ac­ci­dents and seeked to close the liquor shops be­side na­tional and state high­ways across the na­tion along with signs in­di­cat­ing their lo­ca­tion. The state gov­ern­ment is also ob­li­gated to pro­hibit liquor sale.

IS­SUES BE­FORE COURT

 Day by day ac­ci­dents are in­creas­ing on the high­ways, some­times di­rectly linked to liquor con­sump­tion.

 In­ac­tion of the State to re­move along­side the roads which give rise to drunken driv­ing and con­se­quen­tial fa­tal­i­ties.

 No con­crete steps taken by the Cen­tre to curb the me­nace

 No re­sponse from the Cen­tre, State and Union Ter­ri­to­ries re­gard­ing pleas seek­ing a direction to amend ex­cise laws to en­sure that no liquor is sold along­side high­ways.

 Min­istry of Road Trans­port and High­ways and said al­most five lakh ac­ci­dents oc­curred last year in In­dia, killing 1,46,000 peo­ple and leav­ing thrice the num­ber in­jured.

HELD

The Supreme Court or­dered a ban of liquor shops on state and na­tional high­ways all over In­dia and ex­plic­itly said that the li­censes of ex­ist­ing shops will not be re­newed af­ter March 31, 2017.

The Court charged the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment, for not do­ing there re­quired duty. It con­tended that –“Look at the num­ber of li­censes you (Pun­jab) have given. Be­cause the liquor 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, (Ban sale of liquor on all Na­tional, State High­ways from 1 April: Supreme Court

LEARN­ING OUTCOME

With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this or­der the coun­try will prob­a­bly have lower num­ber of mishaps on the high­way which was hap­pen­ing and rapidly in­creas­ing with the con­stant help of nu­mer­ous le­gal and il­le­gal liquor shops. As one of the pleas had said “"In­dia be­ing a sig­na­tory to the Brasilia Dec­la­ra­tion, it is im­per­a­tive that pol­icy guide­lines are framed to con­trol road ac­ci­dents. Also, the ex­cise poli­cies of In­dian states and Union ter­ri­to­ries should be amended to con­form to the spirit of Ar­ti­cle 47 r/w Ar­ti­cle 21 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia," ( Ban sale of liquor on all Na­tional and State High­ways from April 1, 2017: Supreme Court, http://www.first­post.com/ Dec 15, 2016)

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