The judges said as facts are not common and the outlets are on different roads, they will take up cases individually.
The Bombay high court has directed the state government to reply if liquor outlets challenging their closure notices are on state highways or national highways. The HC also directed it to produce the relevant notification which declares roads as state highways.
A bench of Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Mahesh Sonak heard petitions by many liquor outlets, including hotels and permit rooms from Thane district, Vasai-Virar, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Nashik districts, which were directed to shut down. The Supreme Court on December 15, 2016, directed a ban on all liquor vends within 500 meters of national and state highways after March 31, 2017. The petitioners said the apex court’s order was not applicable to them as they are on state roads.
The judges said as facts are not common and the outlets are on different roads, they will take up cases individually. An advocate arguing for a Nashik outlet on Yeola Nandgaon Road No 25 said a government resolution says it was a state road. He also said there was a procedure mandated for declaring a road a highway.
He said, "It cannot be said that any road is a highway."
Justice Sonak said, "We prima facie agree with you that if you are not on a state highway or national highway, the matter is different. If they say you are on a state highway or national highway, they have to produce necessary documents."
The judges clarified that relief granted to three clubs and a retail outlet in Pune a day earlier was because it was in the city. “Here, everything is dependent on whether a state road is state highway or not,’’ said Justice Kemkar. Posting the hearing on Friday, the judges said they will consider granting interim relief to the petitioners.