A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar has refused to extend the deadline for cancelling liquor licenses to shops selling liquor within 500 metres from national and state highways across the country.
For states where existing licenses will remain valid post-April, the Supreme Court relaxed its condition allowing them to function till September 30, 2017, Live Law reported.
The only states exempted from this rule are Sikkim and Meghalaya.
However, while listening to pleas of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government on Friday, the apex court reduced the 500-metre threshold to 220 metres in areas where the local body population is less than 20, 000, reports said.
For the state of Himachal Pradesh, the apex court said the threshold will be 220 metres.
The top court also emphasised that the ban was also meant for hotels, restaurants and bars and not just standalone liquor vendors, refuting Attorney General Mukul Rohatgiâ€™s arguments, the Live Law report said.
The apex court was listening to a petition filed by the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Telangana and All Assam Indian Made Foreign Liquors Retailersâ€™ Association.
The states had opposed the December 15 ban by the SC citing huge loss of revenue.
A three-judge-bench headed by then Chief Justice of India TS Thakur had ordered closure of liquor shops within 500 metres of national/state highways while hearing a PIL (public interest litigation) filed by NGO Arrive Safe.
The NGO had said that a majority of the 1.42 lakh deaths due to road accidents in the country annually, was due to drinking and driving.