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Supreme Court bans liquor sales on highways as a move to reduce drunk driving and road accidents due to alcohol

Supreme Court of India has banned sales of alcohol at shops located within 500 meters of national and state highways across the country. Drunk driving and road accidents due to alcohol is a reason behind many deaths in India. This mandate by Supreme Court is believed to be reducing the number of road accidents and chance of drink driving on highways.

A three judge bench headed by the chief justice TS Thakur has also ordered the removal of all signboards of alcohol vends along highways. According to this mandate by the apex court, license of existing liquor shops within 500 meters of national and state highways will not be renewed after 31st March, 2017. This order from Supreme Court comes on petitions challenging high court verdicts which disallowed the sales of alcohol on highways.

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The justice bench of Supreme Court has also expressed its concern over 1.5 lakh fatalities every year in road accidents across the country. In fact, a majority of this number is attributed to drink driving. While announcing the verdict, chief justice TS Thakur has said, roads should be absolutely free from any distraction or attractions as visibility of liquor shops and advertisements are the first temptation.

Alcohol shops now need to be located away from the highways so that they are not visible from highways. Central government has been advising the state governments not to give license to the shops selling alcohol along highways. But state governments are reluctant to the advice, as the liquor shops generate a large amount of revenue for them.

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Now the state governments are bound to follow the Supreme Court mandate. Counsels of several state governments have faced the court ire due by defending the liquor shops along the highways. Several road safety activists and politician has welcomed the move.