A non-governmental organisation (NGO), ArriveSafe Society, has challenged the excise policy notified by the Punjab government for the financial year 2015-16.
The high court on Monday issued a notice to the government for April 6, on a petition seeking quashing of the policy and directions to the state to not auction liquor vends abutting national and state highways.
The petitioner has stated that the high court had directed Punjab to remove the liquor vends from highways and service lanes abutting these highways and remove all advertisements regarding the sale of liquor from highways and also ensure that vends were neither visible nor accessible from the highways. Consequently, the excise policy of 2014-15 was amended. The amendment policy had been challenged by Punjab in the Supreme Court.
Punjab continued to have liquor vends along national and state highways, the petitioner said. During the pendency of the SLPs (special leave petitions) and contempt petition for violating court orders, Punjab had come up with yet another excise policy for 2015-16, the petitioner submitted.
“In the new policy, it had been stated that urban areas where zones had not been made, the licensee was allowed to open a liquor vend anywhere in the city,” the petitioner stated, arguing that the condition was against the high court orders and had failed to address the guidelines for highways passing through cities.
According to the petitioner, the state had also interpreted the high court order ‘wrongly’. The policy talked of non-visibility and no direct access from the national highways, but it did not mention anything about service lanes of national highways. It was also silent on accessibility from state highways, which was ‘misinterpretation’ of the HC order, the petitioner said.