The Supreme Court, while banning liquor vends along the national and State highways, accused State governments of “speaking the language of liquor vendors.” It pointed out on an analysis of road accident data, 2015 reveals that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, resulting in 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour.
The Government of India is now saying that we will direct all highway authorities to remove all sign boards. It should be absolutely free from any distraction or attractions. It should not be visible. Visibility is the first temptation. As, For the last 10 years, nothing has happened and that is why we have stepped in,” the Bench had observed.
Here are the directions issued by the three Judge bench headed by Chief Justice Thakur in State of Tamil Nadu Vs K.Balu;
- All states and union territories shall forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways;
- The prohibition contained in (i) above shall extend to and include stretches of such highways which fall within the limits of a municipal corporation, city, town or local authority;
- The existing licences which have already been renewed prior to the date of this order shall continue until the term of the licence expires but no later than 1 April 2017;
- All signage’s and advertisements of the availability of liquor shall be prohibited and existing ones removed forthwith both on national and state highways;
- No shop for the sale of liquor shall be
a) visible from a national or state highway;
b) directly accessible from a national or state highway and
c) situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of a service lane along the highway.
- All States and Union territories are mandated to strictly enforce the above directions. The Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police shall within one month chalk out a plan for enforcement in consultation with the state revenue and home departments. Responsibility shall be assigned inter alia to District Collectors and Superintendents of Police and other competent authorities. Compliance shall be strictly monitored by calling for fortnightly reports on action taken.
- These directions issue under Article 142 of the Constitution.