Punjab Assembly passes amendment to allow serving liquor in hotels on highway
The Punjab assembly passed Friday a bill to allow liquor to be served in hotels, restaurants and clubs on the highway.
The Punjab Excise Bill (Amendment) proposed by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Brahm Mohindra, was adopted by the Assembly on the day of the end of its budget session.
Earlier this week, the Punjab Cabinet agreed to amend a section of the Punjab Excise Act, 1917 which would exempt hotels, restaurants and clubs from the Supreme Court order that restricted the sale Less than 500 meters from highways.
According to the amendment, all ambiguities would be removed and, if there is no retail sale within 500 meters of national and national highways, these restrictions do not apply to hotels, restaurants and clubs Located on national and national highways.
In December of last year, the Supreme Court ordered sales of liquor within 500 meters of national and national highways to be closed. Later, he changed the order reducing the distance to 220 meters in areas with a population of up to 20,000 inhabitants.
However, the apex court had specified that its decree of 15 December 2016 prohibiting such sales within 500 meters of motorways will remain operational for other regions.
“The purpose of the judicial pronouncement is to verify impaired driving and the resulting losses. However, there are a large number of hotels, restaurants, clubs and other places notified herein where alcohol Is sold for in-situ consumption, “the bill said.
“It is a part of the hotel and tourism industry that generates substantial employment in the state. The lack of alcoholic drinks in hotels, restaurants, clubs, etc. has seriously affected their lives and Even their partial closure can create significant unemployment in the state, “he said.
The bill seeks to ensure that hotels, restaurants, clubs and other places notified are allowed to serve alcohol only for consumption on their premises “to ensure the means of subsistence” A large segment of the population of the state.
However, the sale of alcoholic beverages shall be authorized only by authorized distributors who must not be located within 500 meters of the outer area of the national highway or the State or a service road from those roads . In addition, sales of alcohol must not be directly visible or accessible from highways.
The bill mentions that, in spite of any element contained in a judgment, decree or order of a court, tribunal or authority, any club, hotel, restaurant or any place notified having a license Must be entitled to liquor in premises near national or national highways.
The SAD-BJP alliance and members of the AAP were not present in the Assembly when this bill and other legislative undertakings were taken over because they organized a strike during Question Time.