The Kerala Excise Department has granted permission to reopen 466 liquor outlets in Kerala after the Supreme Court clarified that national and state highways passing through municipal localities will be exempt from its rule.
The SC had earlier banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways.
Additional Chief Secretary, Excise (Taxes), Tom Jose, in his order dated August 25, has granted permission to reopen the liquor outlets.
According to The Hindu report, the liquor outlets that can be reopened include four bars, 276 wine and beer parlours (previously two-star bar hotels), 148 toddy shops, 25 State-run liquor retail outlets and several private membersâ€™ clubs.
SC had issued clarification on December 15, 2016, but the full judgement copy came out on Friday.
â€śThe purpose of the directions contained in the order dated December 15, 2016 is to deal with the sale of liquor along and in proximity of highways, properly understood, which provide connectivity between cities, towns and villages. The order does not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal areas,â€ś The Times of India reports.
Though the courtâ€™s clarification was in the Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh versus Union Territory of Chandigarh case, it also said that it is applicable in all other municipal areas too.
The government had earlier planned to denotify highways in municipal areas as district roads and with this order they might drop the plan.
The cabinet on Wednesday had decided to denotify the state highways within the municipal and corporation limits so as to enable the functioning of liquor outlets.
Kerala government had earlier petitioned the SC seeking further clarification on its order but later withdrew it as the rule was intended to avoid accidents on the road.