The Delhi government will be approaching the Supreme Court, seeking clarity on its order of shutting down liquor vends along national and state highways by March 31.
The Supreme Court on December 15 had banned all liquor shops within 500 metres of national and state highways across the country, a move aimed at reducing drink driving and road accidents that claim thousands of lives every year. Licences of existing shops will not be renewed after March 31 next year, it said.
Sources in the government said the while the excise department has been conducting survey of all liquor shops on the national highways criss-crossing the city, confusion remains whether the order also applies to the restaurants and bars offering alcohol to their customers.
“In its order the court used the phrase liquor shops. So there is confusion whether it applies to outlets serving drink as well. A meeting was held by the chief secretary recently over the issue in which it was decided to file a special leave application before the apex court,” a Delhi government official said, adding the government could approach the apex court early next week.
The development comes amid reports that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has told the Kerala government that the Supreme Court order banning liquor vends does not apply to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Sources in the Delhi government said, as per the initial survey, about 50 liquor shops are located on the five national highways crossing the city. However, if the order is applied to bars and restaurants the number of outlets that will be affected will run into hundreds.
“Places like aerocity near airport will get completely affected as they are stone throw away from national highway-8,” an official said.