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Supreme Court to hear Liquor shop owners case

Liquor shop owners have gone to the SC challenging the Bombay high court’s rejection of their appeals against the state’s decision to name roads under state or national highways category without issuing proper notification under the Bombay Highways Act, 1955. This was after a SC bench banned liquor shops within 500 meters of state or national highways in December 2015.

The petitioner has claimed that after the SC order, the state changed the names of roads that fell under neither category into state highways without issuing proper notification as a result of which they became illegal. The Apex Court has said that the same bench that passed the ban order will hear the case.

Advocates Prashant Kenjale, Rakesh Sharma and KN Rai appearing on behalf of the petitioners, had contended they were operating their liquor shops along roads that are neither national highways nor state highways. However, after the SC banned liquor shops within 500 meters of national and state highways, the Maharashtra government changed the names of the roads into state highways without any declaration in the official gazette, which is mandatory as per section 3 of the Bombay Highways Act 1955.

According to petitioners, mere changing the name of roads without any notification would not give a road the status of state highways. The petitioners further contended that when this matter had come up for hearing before the Bombay HC, the state government had admitted that there exists no notification by which the state roads were declared as state highways. They claimed that the high court has erred in not taking any action against the state for converting or declaring the state roads as state highways without following due process.

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