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Punjab Issued Notice After It Lets Hotels Serve Liquor Near Highways

Chandigarh:  The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice to the Punjab government, less than a week after the state Assembly amended the Excise Act, 1914 removing hotels, restaurants and clubs from the restrictions on serving of liquor within 500 metres of highways.

The notice was issued for July 24 by a vacation bench of Justice Anita Chaudhry and Justice Harminder Singh Madaan on a petition filed by NGO ‘Arrive Safe Society’ through its president Harman Singh Sidhu.

Mr Sidhu contended that the Supreme Court had directed all states and union territories to forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways within a distance of 500 metres.

Mr Sidhu, through his counsel Ravi Kamal Gupta, contended that the state government brought the amendment on June 23 in the state Assembly to the Punjab Excise Act to dodge the Supreme Court orders.

He argued that liquor vends camouflaged as a restaurant, hotel or club would be found everywhere along the highways without any consideration for public health, morality, and peace, if the impugned amendment was allowed to operate.

On June 23, the Punjab Assembly had passed a Bill to enable hotels, restaurants and other notified places near highways in the state to serving alcohol.