corustey THETRIBUNE MARCH 30
Bacchus lovers have reason to say cheers
Liquor vends to stay as HC junks petition
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 29
Bacchus lovers in the city have a reason to say cheers! The ban on liquor vends on all national and state highways across the country will not drive the drinking holes away in Chandigarh. For, the Punjab and Haryana High today dismissed a petition against change in “nomenclature of certain roads” from state highways to “major district roads”.
The change in classification paves the way for vends to function as the ban on their existence is on state highways and not “major district roads”. Taking up the petition filed by NGO ArriveSafe Society, the Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu asserted that the counsel for the petitioner had not been able to refer to any statute under which certain roads were notified by the Administration as state highways.
The Bench also took note of the Administration’s claim that the responsibility for maintenance and development of certain roads was shifted to the UT after classifying them as state highways as the funds were received for the purpose from the Central Road Fund created by levy of additional duty on petrol.
“At that time, keeping in view the larger public interest and availability of more funds for maintenance of roads, certain internal roads, in addition to the National Highway-21 passing through the city, were declared state highways…
“The counsel for the petitioner has not cited any law which has been violated while issuing the impugned notification dated March 16, redefining the nomenclature of various roads in the city.”
Referring to the issue of drunken driving, the Bench asserted that the Administration had specifically claimed in its reply that it was regularly checked in the city by setting up regular check-posts, especially late in the evening.
The teams were equipped with breath analysers. Besides, CCTV cameras, too, had been installed at busy junctions. As a result of strict enforcement of traffic rules and checking, the Administration was able to prevent several accidents in the city.
The Bench added that the roads had been renamed after a committee was constituted. There was no change in the nomenclature of the National Highway-21 passing through the city. Madhya Marg, connecting Panchkula in Haryana and Mullanpur in Punjab, too, had been left untouched as a state highway. “It has not been redefined as major district road as it interconnects two states and passes through the city. For the reasons mentioned, we do not find any merit in the present petition. The same is accordingly dismissed.”
ArriveSafe, through its president Harman Singh Siddu, had earlier stated that the Chandigarh Administration, vide an earlier notification dated October 21, 2005, converted all V1, V2 and V3 roads into state highways.
However, to scuttle the judgment passed by the Supreme Court which said no shop for sale of liquor shall be situated within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of a national or state highway or a service lane along the highway, the Administration had come up with the innovative idea