Updated: June 18, 2018 11:31:53 am
In a recent review of the Supreme Court order banning liquor vends within 500 metres of state and national highways, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has told the Kerala government that the judgment does not apply to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. The order which was passed on December 15 by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur has created quite a stir in the hotel industry due to the ambiguity of the order.
The Supreme Court order was passed on a PIL filed by Arrive Safe, NGO that stated nearly 1.42 lakh people people died annually on roads in India because of accidents, drunk driving being a major contributor to this issue.
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State governments have strongly opposed the ban citing loss of revenue, but there has been no formal notification about the implementation. According to several hoteliers in the city, the excise department has not provided a clear reply on whether the ban applies to bars and restaurants. Ganesh Shetty, President of Pune’s Hoteliers Association said, “There is a lot of confusion regarding the order as people are interpreting it in different ways. According to the PIL on which the order was passed, it clearly states only liquor vends, but to clarify the case our parent body has approached the concerned authorities and Shri Krishna, Retired Chief Justice. He has given a similar review as Rohatgi, yet everything is on standstill because of the confusion as no notice has been issued.”
Ashwin Shetty, owner of an upcoming restaurant in Baner has already been affected by the Supreme Court order. “Due to the confusion surrounding the ban, I had to put the project on hold.”
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