It’s an irony of sorts. The man behind the booze ban in clubs and pubs along the highways across the country himself loves his drink.
“Yes, of course l drink,” says Harman Sidhu, a road safety crusader and the man who filed the original petition which eventually led to the Supreme Court verdict banning sale of liquor along state and national highways. The order came into force from Saturday (April 1).
“I love to drink both at home and in pubs and restaurants,” says Sidhu. He, however, cannot drive. “There is no question of drinking and driving in my case,” says Sidhu, a software professional. The 46-year-old Chandigarh resident has been confined to wheelchair since October 1996 when the car he was travelling in fell into a gorge in Himachal Pradesh leaving him paralysed from the neck down. But this has been no handicap to his fight against reckless driving.
With the Supreme Court ban, Sidhu, who is single and lives with his parents, says: “I am more than satisfied with the development.” The fight, he says, isn’t just against driving after drinking. It’s a fight for safe driving.
“I am hurt by the number of people losing their lives in road accidents,” he says.
Sidhu had filed a petition in the name of his NGO ArriveSafe in the Punjab and Haryana high court, seeking a ban on sale of liquor along state and national highways. The high court agreed with his contention and prohibited the sale of liquor along highways. But the states of Punjab and Haryana challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which has clubbed other related petitions and upheld the HC verdict.
“Drivers get distracted by liquor vends along highways and the SC order will help check the number of road accidents,” Sidhu says.