The Supreme Court announced a major decision today by exempting Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the liquor ban imposed on liquor outlets within 500 meters of state and national highways. Uttarakhand had also made a similar appeal, but the Supreme Court told the state government that it should come back with relevant data to support its case. In the order given by the Supreme Court, it has been stated that for the two states, the liquor ban will now be restricted to 220 meters, as against 500 meters decided earlier. The order was announced by a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao.
It may be recalled that thousands of interlocutory applications (IA) have been filed since the highway liquor ban was imposed by the Supreme Court. However, the top court has made it clear that only IAs filed by states will be entertained. The logic for exempting these states from liquor ban is that these states have relatively less highways and thereby less number of outlets near highways. The Supreme Court has provided relief to these states since the ban had affected the majority of liquor outlets in these states.