Jammu and Kashmir government has shut 142 bars and wine shops along all highways in the state, complying with a Supreme Court directive which banned liquor vends within 500 metres of state and national highways. “As many as 47 wine shops and 95 bars have been closed on the national highway in Jammu and Kashmir as per the directive of the SC,” Excise Commissioner Javed Khan told PTI. The licence of these liquor bars in hotels and restaurants have been suspended and their owners asked to relocate their units 500 metres away from the highway, he said.
Excise department has identified a total of 142 bars and wine shops including 47 wine shops and 95 bars located on the national highway from Lakhanpur (entry point to J-K in Kathua district) to Kupwara district of Kashmir valley.
Liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways were asked to be shut down from April 1 as per the Supreme Court directive, exempting hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas having a population up to 20,000.
In a significant order passed on pleas of various states seeking modification of the court’s December 15, 2016 verdict, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also made it clear that the judgement banning liquor vends along highways would also be applicable to bars, pubs and restaurants as drunken driving leads to fatal road accidents.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, had said that “it is suitably modifying” its December 15 verdict as there has been “some substance” in seeking the relief and exempted Sikkim and Meghalaya from the 500-metre cap on liquor vends alongside highways.