Kerala HC: Asks Excise Department to Consider Permission to Bars Along Denotified Highways

Kerala HC: Asks Excise Department to Consider Permission to Bars Along Denotified Highways

The Kerala high court has asked the excise department to consider the demand of bar hotels situated along the Cherthala-Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur-Kuttipuram roads to continue operations as these roads were de-notified as highways prior to the Supreme Court order on liquor outlets along highways.

A single bench of the court, while considering five petitions filed by bar hotel operators, said the notification dropping the Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram road from the list of national highways came on March 5, 2014 while the Supreme Court order came on December 15, 2016.

A petition (WP-C No. 16647/2017) filed by P Surendran, proprietor of Hotel Astiya Grande at Navayikulam near Kallambalam in Thiruvananthapuram was considered as the lead case by the court. The petitioners said it was on the basis of the Supreme Court’s directive to close bars and liquor outlets within 500 metres of the national and state highways that the excise department asked them to shut down.

The Union government had notified the Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram road as a national highway in February 2010 but dropped it from the list in an amended notification. “The Cherthala-Oachira-Thiruvananthapuram road being no longer a highway, I am sure that the rigour of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court would not be applicable to the said road. However, the other directions relating to the distance from any other national/state highway and direct access from any other national/state highway would obviously be relevant.”
In the case of Kannur-Vengalam-Kuttipuram road, it was notified as a highway on February 26, 2010 but was de-notified on August 14, 2014.

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