Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed authorities to relocate liquor retail outlets which are presently functioning alongside the national highways and state highways to interior areas by March 31, saying there has been significant increase in accidents due to drunken driving.
Disposing off a petition, the First Bench, comprising, Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, said, "The present scenario is that there has been a significant increase in accidents due to drunken driving by drivers on national highways."
Further, Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act also prohibits drunken driving.
"Hence the respondents (authorities) cannot delay the process of relocating the liquor shops which are being run on national/state Highways," he said disposing of a petition by one K Balu.
He contended that the location of liquor shops on highways was contrary to the Central government's communication dated December 1, 2011 issued taking note of fatal road accidents.
He prayed for a direction to the state government to relocate liquor outlets and bars attached to them which were on national and state highways.
Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) had submitted the liquor shops on National Highways were not located on 'poromboke' land and said action was being taken to shift the existing shops to the interior areas depending on the availability of suitable buildings and sought six months time.
Noting that the matter was pending before the court from August 31 last year, the Judge said such a long time could not be granted.
Considering all the facts, the court directed the authorities to shift the shops at present located on highways to interior areas by March end.