SAMUDRA RESTUARANT Vs. DEPUTY EXCISE COMMISSIONER
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
DEPUTY EXCISE COMMISSIONER
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Devan Ramachandran, J. -
(1.) As is often stated, extraordinary circumstances sometimes require extraordinary solutions. The horrendous rise in road accidents in India, particularly in highways, on account of the drivers being inebriated by consumption of alcohol, forced the Honb'le Supreme Court to take notice and prescribe extraordinary directions to curb, what has now come to be called 'drunken driving'.
(2.) The Hon'ble Supreme Court saw that the availability of liquor vending shops on National/ State Highways across the country was the most proximate reason for the rise in accidents caused by the drunk drivers and therefore, the Hon'ble Court though it idoneous to issue orders ensuring that such source and availability of liquor was immediately eliminated from the proximity and adjacency of the National/State Highways.
(3.) The Hon'ble Supreme Court in its seminal judgment in State of Tamil Nadu v. V.K.Balu,2017 1 KHC 26 issued the directions as under:
"(i) All states and union territories shall forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways;
(ii) 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;
(iii) 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 not later than 1 April 2017;
(iv) All signages and advertisements of the availability of liquor shall be prohibited and existing ones removed forthwith both on national and state highways;
(v) No shop for the sale of liquor shall be (i) visible from a national or state highway; (ii) directly accessible from a national or state highway and (iii) 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.
(vi) 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.
(VII) These directions issue under Article 142 of the Constitution.";
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