A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar and comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, while rejecting the appeal filed by an NGO against a Punjab and Haryana High Court order upholding the denotification done by Chandigarh administration, said it will pass a detailed order.
The plea was filed in the High Court by the NGO, Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh, challenging a notification by the administration denotifying some state highways and converting them into district roads to allow continued sale of liquor, despite the apex court judgment.
So long the road is a highway, it is covered by the earlier order of apex court irrespective of where it goes, the bench said.
"The notification said that road will be denotified within the limit of city and it does not say that the liquor vends will be regularised," it said.
"If the intention was to denotify the highways where liquor vends are there, they could have extended it to all such roads where vends are located. But they have not done that and confined it to within the city areas. 15 vends are located on roads which are not denotified, they have made classifications," the apex court said, adding that the liquor vends are already governed by the rules.
The apex court also dismissed interlocutory applications (IAs) of various individuals, hotels, clubs and companies and liquor vendors' associations seeking relief from the earlier order of the apex court saying these are not maintainable.
It, however, said the IAs filed by state governments will be entertained by the apex court and taken up tomorrow.
The apex court had on July 4 said the idea behind its verdict banning the sale of liquor along the highways was that a driver should not be under the influence of liquor at places where there is high-speed traffic.
The NGO, in its plea, has alleged that in a bid to circumvent the order, the Chandigarh administration denotified the state highways to allow the sale of liquor even after March 31. The High Court refused to quash the notification.
It was contended that by denotifying state highways and renaming them as major district roads, the Chandigarh administration had made a mockery of the Supreme Court order setting out the distance criteria.
On March 31, the apex court had said that liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to shut down from April 1. It had exempted the hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas having a population of up to 20,000.
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