Supreme Court on Friday upheld the 15 December liquor ban on state highways but relaxed the rule a little. The court reduced the distance of liquor vends from highways in areas with a population of up to 20,000 from 500 to 220 metres. The apex court said people who got licences for liquor vends prior to the 15 December 2016 verdict can operate till 30 September while others will have to shut down from Saturday. The distance relaxation was also extended to hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
The ruling is being seen as a big blow to Goa.
with this order, more than 3,000 liquor traders, including bars, restaurants, wholesalers, retailers and warehouses will be shut, reported The Times of India.
Three days back, the Goa government had said that only 768 outlets will be impacted by the order.
Executives from the state are predicting that this will have a negative impact on the state tourism and trade.
Some are also predicting that the liquor business in the state will collapse by the SC order.
Besides, the top court exempted Sikkim and Meghalaya from the ban order altogether.
Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on a batch of petitions – both by some states and private parties – seeking modification of its order banning liquor vendors along national and state highways. A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao had said that in the “interest of the public health” the liquor shops were ordered to be removed to a distance of 500 meters from either side of the highways.
The bench had said that asking the state government to shift the liquor shops was not impinging on the excise policy of different states as it was only a matter of distance of the outlets from the highways.