Mangaluru, Mar 23, 2017: DK Liquor shops situated within a distance of 500 meters from the state and national highways in Dakshina Kannada district have started getting notices from the excise department to shift their business adhering to the Supreme Court order.
The apex court had ordered a ban on sale of alcohol along the national and state highways. This meant that around 316 liquor shops situated within a 500 meter distance from the highways across the district would be affected. But the state advocate general has given an opinion that the SC directive applies only to retail liquor shops (CL2 licence holders) and not to the bar and restaurants (CL9) and lodges (CL7) where liquor is served.
Kurshida Begum, excise deputy commissioner, told news media that as per the direction from the state government, the department has issued notices to 114 liquor shops (CL2) including five shops run by the state-owned MSIL,whose business violates the SC directive.
Meanwhile, a review petition filed by the Maharashtra Wine Merchants Association questioning the SC judgement was listed for hearing before a specil bench of SC a couple of days back. However, on account of paucity of time, the special bench could not take up the matter. As a result of the same, the matter stood adjourned to March 27 at 3pm.
Though there were regulations applicable in Karnataka to sell liquor outside a distance of 220 meters from the state and national highways with certain exceptions, the apex court’s order has removed them giving no scope for exceptions and also increased the distance to 500 meters.
Under the Karnataka Excise Act, the liquor shops situated along the national and state highways that cut inside the towns and along those highways maintained by the respective city corporations or municipalities were given exemption form the 220 meter rule.
But a Supreme Court appointed panel on road safety headed by its retired judge KS Radhakrishnan recommended ban on sale of alcohol on state and national highways to curb cases of road accidents in which nearly 1.5 lakh die every year in the country. Licences of existing shops will not be renewed after March 31 next year, it said.