Chandigarh, July 5: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there was nothing wrong in denotifying highways that were inside the city. The court said that the purpose of the highway liquor ban order was to ban liquor sale on highways. The court said that the idea was to make sure no speeding drivers on highways are under the influence of alcohol. The apex court’s observation could mean a major relief for Chandigarh. Also Read - Farmers' Tractor Rally on Republic Day: Centre Withdraws Plea After SC Says 'It's a Police Matter'
The Supreme Court’s observation on Tuesday came on a petition challenging a notification by the Chandigarh administration on denotifying state highways to escape liquor ban. While there has been no formal order yet as the court has asked the petitioner to rethink till July 11, it is going to be major relief for many cities including Chandigarh if the court follows the same line after July 11. Also Read - Ahead of Talks, SC Panel Member Says Will Seek Views of Farmers, Stakeholders on Farm Laws
Why it is a relief for Chandigarh Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
All major roads in Chandigarh fall under the ambit of state highways. Therefore, after the Supreme Court’s order on banning liquor vends on highways, all of Chandigarh’s liquor vends, pubs, bars, restobars faced a complete shutdown. This meant no liquor vend in Chandigarh and thousands of jobless people. Reports say that at least 2,000 people were left jobless after the court’s order in December 2016.
With Chandigarh’s municipal corporation being short of funds, the city’s roads were brought under state highways so as to be maintained by the Union Territories’ development fund. Therefore, all sectors come within 500 metres of the state highway and no liquor vend could be functioning due to the apex court’s order.
To make things better, the UT had denotified its notification and named some state highways as major district roads in March 2017. However, ArriveSAFE, a Chandigarh-based NGO working on road safety, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the move. The HC had quashed the plea, following which the NGO moved the Supreme Court.
Now with the Supreme Court saying there was nothing wrong in states denotifying highways within cities, Chandigarh may be looking at a major relief in the near future, with some liquor vends getting back to business soon after there is a formal order from the apex court.
Similarly, such a stand by the bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, has brought cheers to administrations in other cities like Bengaluru and Gurugram, where a similar denotification of highways was in the waiting.