FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
SC order on liquor ban: None for the road
Posted:Apr 9, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The liquor trade, as the Supreme Court has emphasised, is indeed res extra commercium, something outside the idea of commerce. It exists solely at the discretion of policymakers without any concomitant fundamental right that other businesses enjoy. The point was cited by the court while ordering that liquor sales be prohibited within 500 metres from national and State highways. In a different sense, it only underscores how much the executive is, and ought to be, involved in policy-making on the subject. Imposing restrictions on the location of liquor outlets, applying them in a differential manner to vends, hotels and standalone bars is undoubtedly an executive decision. It is possible to argue that the executive will be lax in enforcement, corrupt in licensing or too revenue-centric to worry about the social costs of its decisions. However, is that reason enough for the judiciary to impose norms without regard to the problems that they may give rise to? Frankly, the answer is no. The court’s ill-considered order is wholly concerned with the availability of liquor — to the point that it bans sale of liquor on highway stretches even within city and town limits, where police checks are quite common — and does not touch upon strengthening the enforcement of the law against drunk driving. With the same moral outrage against high fatalities on our roads, and with much less economic cost, the court could have ordered stricter patrolling on highways and regular check-points.
 
The order has come down like a sledgehammer not only on the liquor vends and the hospitality sector but also on the revenues of State governments, on the business of hotels and bars, and the tourism potential of many parts of the country. The inventive responses of State governments and the industry give an idea of how much they are affected by it — and indeed how absurd the court’s order is. States are downgrading highways into ‘urban roads’ or ‘major district roads’, moves fraught with consequences as safety and quality norms may be compromised; local bodies, which now have to maintain them, may not find the required resources. Some luxury hotels situated on highways are creating alternative entrances to claim that their bars are located beyond 500 metres. An enterprising owner has built a maze of sorts to create a longer walking distance from a highway to his bar. It is not clear how the 500-metre distance is to be measured — as a straight line from the highway in any direction or along the paths leading to an outlet. One may denounce or laugh away these moves to circumvent the order; but they can be also seen as desperate responses from those fearing loss of income, jobs and business. The court should have the wisdom and the humility to examine the consequences of its order and do the necessary thing — amend it.
 
Source: The Hindu, April 10, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image I am honored to be here today for the first U.S. government exchange alumni conference for India and Bhutan.
 
read-more
The European Union and India should work closely to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has said.
 
read-more
On a self-imposed trial of three months, the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has gone for what it believes to be a slam dunk.
 
read-more
spotlight image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sprang a surprise when he registered himself as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election scheduled for May 19. After leaving the office of President in 2013 at the end of two controversial terms, the firebrand populist has been largely inactive in politics. 
 
read-more
That China strictly implements the UN Security Council resolutions that sanction North Korea is seen by all. If Pyongyang continues with its nuclear and missile tests, China is bound to support more harsh resolutions on this country.
 
read-more
India should be extremely wary of any Trump involvement on the Kashmir issue because he would do anything to bring India to the table, writes Dr. Susmit Kumar for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
A pre-dawn  suicide terror attack (fidayeen)  on an army camp in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 27)   resulted in the death of three army personnel including an officer,  while two terrorists were neutralized. Combing operations are in progress to ascertain if any of the attackers have
 
read-more
The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.
 
read-more
Health of the citizens and the economy of the nation they inhabit go hand in hand and every buck spent on former guarantees a manifold increase in the latter,  said noted public health expert K Srikant Reddy. The lecture 'Health and Development: India Must Bridge the Disconnect' was ...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive