In an attempt to prevent drunk driving and consequent fatal accidents on fast moving highways, the Hon Supreme Court pronounced ( December 2016 ) a blanket ban on liquor vends and bars located on or within 500 meter radius from all State and National Highways.
The order came into effect from April 1 this year. But there is still a prolonged debate pointing on the practicality of this judgement.
We spoke to a cross-section of people to know what they think of the ban and elicited their opinion on such regulation :
State Highways are of a namesake in most of the areas in Pune like Katraj Highway and Mulshi Road (towards lavasa). These are famous getaways for weekends due to famous dhabas and restaurants. A large percent of working people like us use it for daily commute and people still drink and drive on these roads. Banning alcohol is not a solution, having a strict law to circumvent drink driving is.
I think this decision is commendable. Every year approx. 1.5 lakh people get killed on the highways due to rash driving by drunk drivers. This idea can definitely reduce road accidents and death rate significantly.
It is a good decision and can help fulfill the aim of preventing road accidents. But with the single order, 80% of the liquor shops were shut in a jiffy. There should be some temporary arrangements made for people who are employed there. Also, the tax revenue of the state will get affected, burdening the governments to find alternative revenue sources at the earliest.
Like all important matters, this decision is also two faced. From the point of a business owner, their livelihood is at stake. But when we look at the statistics of drink and drive accidents, then the decision seems right.
Everybody in India has a Juggad to get away with such laws. Recently, a wine shop owner in Kerala made a 250-metre-long maze that lead to the actual establishment. This however made him dodge the 500-meter restrictions. No matter how many laws are made, people always come up with such ideas to get away with them.
The ban should be lifted! What I ponder over is, when such work falls under the jurisdiction of the government, why should courts unnecessarily intervene? SC is the apex court of law. Hence it is indispensable to abide by its judgement. However having said so, such decisions indirectly leaves an impression that the authority of the elected representatives can be over thrown which in a way instigates a debate over the use of constitutional powers.
#The views expressed in this column are the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
#Pune365 does not encourage the consumption of alcohol and tobacco which are injurious to health