- The Kerala High Court excempted two highway stretches from the SC's liquor ban
- The two stretches had been de-notified as highways back in 2014 itself
- However, bar owners were still forced to shut down operations, so they approached the court.
Two large highway stretches inside Kerala, Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur-Vengalam-Kuttippuram, may get their bars back, after the Kerala High Court ruled that the two stretches had ceased being highways long before the Supreme Court's ban on bars on the highway.
In view of rapidly rising highway accidents, the apex court in Dec 2016, had earlier required all bars to stop operations within 500 meters access to National and State Highways. Some liquor vendors' associations and states like Kerala, Punjab and Telangana had approached the apex court seeking modification of the judgement.
Paritcularly, Kerala sought time to implement the order. Kerala Excise Minister G Sudhakaran said "The circumstances in Kerala are different from those in other states, and it needs time to shift liquor outlets and implement the directive,".
However, interestingly, two highways in Kerala were actually denotified back in 2014 itself. Still, liquor vendors on the the Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur-Vengalam-Kuttippuram stretches were asked to shut shop. Two hotel owners took their greivances to the Kerala High Court which ruled in their favour.
Observing that the two stretches had been taken off the national highways list on 5 March 2014, the Court ruled that the SC's ruling did not apply to those two stretches. The Court agreed with the owners that the stretches were not highways at the time of the SC's judgement.
The Court also asked Excise officials to reconsider the claims of the bar owners, and allow them to re-open their bars on renewed licences. The state government was quick to clarify that it had not actually denotified any highways for this purpose, and that the orders came much earlier itself.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:48 PM IST