Punjab bypasses SC order, hotels near highways will serve alcohol

DELHI: Hotels, restaurants and clubs near highways in Punjab will now be able to serve alcohol within 500 metres of highways.

The Punjab Assembly amended the excise act on June 23 which will bypass the Supreme Court order that hotels, pubs and restaurants near highways will have to take alcohol off the menu to keep roads safe, reports NDTV.

The Punjab Assembly took the decision to amend the excise act as the ban on serving liquor near highways has hit the hospitality and tourism industry in the state.

However, there shall be a restriction on opening of liquor vends on or within 500 metres of national or state highways, the Punjab Assembly said.

“After the Supreme Court order we implanted it entirely and all vends shops and bars, marriage boutiques were closed. Now we realised that we already have so much unemployment, after this that unemployment increased even more. We have amended our own state act, to limit the supply of liquor. We have decided not to have any vend which sells liquor within 500 metres of highways,” Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra told NDTV.

The amendments make a clear separation between “liquor vend”, “club”, “hotel” and “notified place”.

The Punjab Cabinet had given a go-ahead to the draft amendment bill, 2017, earlier this week, and it was tabled in the Assembly today.

On December 15 last year, the top court had ordered all establishments selling liquor within 500 metres of highways across India to relocate on a petition by Harman Singh Sandhu, 46, who has been bound to a wheelchair after a road accident 20 years ago.

Sandhu wanted to make the roads safer for everyone. Nearly 1.4 lakh people died in road accidents in 2015, an average of 400 deaths every day.


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