NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today relaxed its ban on liquor vends alongside highways in nine districts of Uttarakhand and parts of two other districts from the 500metre cap.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar granted the relief to the hill state after its counsel referred to the March 31 order and said the relaxation be extended to the state as it was suffering severely due to the ban.
The relaxation would apply to the districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Bageshwar and Almora.
The top court also extended the relaxation to four tehsils of Nainital and certain areas in Dehradun.
It, however, refused to grant the relief to the districts of Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar.
"The counsel appearing for the state has sought some concession as those extended by this court in order dated March 31 for Uttarakhand as well.
"We have given our thoughtful consideration to the submissions of the counsel and keeping in view the additional affidavit filed by the state, we are of the view that the prayer made by the Uttarakhand needs to be accepted in districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Bageshwar and Almora," the bench said.
The bench also comprised Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao.
Earlier, the court had exempted hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas having population up to 20,000 from the 500-metre cap on liquor vends alongside highways.
In a significant order passed on pleas of various states seeking modification of the court's December 15, 2016 verdict, the court had 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.
It had further modified the 500-metre cap rule for Himachal Pradesh and local areas which are alongside highways with a population up to 20,000, and said that they may have liquor vends at a distance of 220 metres from the highways.
The verdict had come on a PIL claiming that nearly 1.42 lakh people die every year in road mishaps and that drunken driving is a major contributor.
It had also directed that all signages indicating the presence of liquor vends will be prohibited along national and state highways.