New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Thursday has directed to ban liquor shops on all State Highways.

The top court in its order said that all the licenses of liquor shops in and around the National Highways in all the states of India would be closed.

Supreme Court, however, said that they can operate till the period they hold their licenses, but no renewal of their licenses would be made.

While hearing a PIL filed by an NGO ‘Arrive Safe’ on the menace of drunk driving on highways, Supreme Court had reserved its order but the bench comprising of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justices DY Chandrachud and LN Rao said that it would ensure the menace of drunk driving was curbed on highways.

The NGO in the PIL mentioned that there are 1.42 lakh deaths in road accidents and most of them are caused due to drunk driving.

Lawyers appearing for Puducherry, Punjab, Haryana and liquor merchants’ associations requested that that licences to run liquor shops were given as per rules and there should not be any sudden change as it would cause huge losses to the owners.

What caught the bench’s attention was the number of these shops on highways. On a stretch of 1km of national highway passing through Mahe, Puducherry which links two parts of Kerala, where bars have been banned, there were as many as 64 liquor shops. This means there is a liquor shop every 15 metres in Mahe which has a population of just 42,000.

It is being speculated that soon there would be no liquor shops on the highways. The order would be applicable on both state and National Highways. 

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