SC exempts Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands from liquor sale ban
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday exempted Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands from its order banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways on the grounds of unique topographical constraints.
The apex court had earlier this year in March allowed exemption from this ban to Sikkim and Meghalaya on similar grounds.
Lawyer for Arunachal Pradesh told the court, “80% of the state is covered by forests; and out of Rs441.61 crore generated as revenue per year, 50% is generated out of sale of liquor.”
“Every road in Arunachal Pradesh is a national highway, whereas the state has no money for state highways. Money and expertise required for building highways is beyond (the reach of) Arunachal Pradesh. The state has a total of 1,011km of National Highways,” the counsel said.
Sikkim and Meghalaya were exempted in the March order on the grounds that 82% and 69% of their area respectively were covered by forests and over 90% of their liquor shops would be closed if the ban was imposed as it is.
The court did not rule on Uttarakhand’s application on similar grounds. It considered the information presented by the state to support its claim for exemption as insufficient. Kerala has withdrawn its application.
Exemption for Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected a plea challenging the Chandigarh administration’s decision to denotify national and state highways to skirt a ban on the sale of liquor along them.