A Timeline Of The Supreme Court’s Ban On The Sale Of Liquor Along Highways
As the Supreme Court's order prohibiting the sale of alcohol along and within 500 metres of state and national highways kicks in, we look back at the journey taken to reach this point
Highway Liquor Shop Ban- A Timeline
- 2012 | Harman Singh Sidhu, Founder of road safety NGO ArriveSAFE files a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court calling for the closure of liquor vends on highways.
Sidhu realised that drink driving was a major cause of road accidents in the country and the fact that liquor was easily available on the highways did not help matters.
- December 15, 2016 | A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur orders the closure of all liquor vends located within 500 metres of state and national highways by April 1, 2017.
The court issues its order in recognition of the role of drink driving in road accidents, injuries and deaths. Additionally, advertising liquor on highways is banned with immediate effect.
- December 2016 – March 2017 | Following the order, there is widespread confusion about whether the ban extends only to shops or to bars and restaurants serving alcohol as well. Restaurant and bar owners seek clarifications from their respective state excise departments.
Read: Uncertain Future For Gurugram Bars | 90% Of Goa’s Liquor Outlets May Shut
- March 1, 2017 | The Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi interprets the order as being limited to shops and not restaurants and bars.
This statement comes as a response to a clarification sought by the Kerala government. The Attorney General says that this would be applicable for the whole country.
- March 31, 2017 | The Supreme Court upholds the December 15 order and clarifies that it applies to everyone selling alcohol—including shops, bars, pubs and restaurants.
For areas with a population of less than 20,000, the liquor ban is revised to a distance of 220 metres from the highway.
- April 1, 2017 | The ban on liquor vends along and with 500 metres of highways comes into force.