Chandigarh:The Division Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the stand of the UT Administration on de-notification of the highways by dismissing the plea to quash the notification filed by Harman Singh Sidhu, president of an NGO, ArriveSafe.
The verdict comes as a relief for the UT over liquor policy, otherwise this may have hit the revenue collected by the UT Excise Department after auctioning the 99 liquor vends in the city.
Now the UT may declare the new excise policy by tomorrow and will also hold the auction of the remaining liquor vends by the first week of April.
However, the de-notification of the highways has reduced the number of liquor vends by 22 vends which were allocated on Madhya Marg and along NH-21.
What the case was?
The UT Administration had de-notified all roads from state highways to district highways, apart from the two roads, Madhya Marg and Dakshin Marg (which was already tagged as NH-21).
Madhya Marg is the road link between Parwanoo-Panchkula and Chandigarh and has been left out to be de-notified.
As most of the liquor vends fall on roads V1, V2 and V3 which as per the nomenclature have been tagged as state highways and according to the orders issued by the Supreme Court of India, all the liquor vends must be outside the radius of 500 metres from state and national highways.
Challenging this, Harman Sidhu had moved court terming the orders as the sole motive of the UT to ensure that the liquor vends stayed on the existing locations as this exercise would defeat the entire purpose of the order of the Supreme Court and the efforts to reduce road crashes.
What court ordered !
Dismissing the plea, the HC Division Bench opined in its order that ‘the counsel for the petitioner has not been able to refer to any statute in exercise of powers conferred under which certain roads were notified by the Administration as state highways. Reason to do so has been explained in the written statement filed by the respondents. It was for internal arrangements whereby by defining the roads, the responsibilities for maintenance were fixed.’
Orders further stated, “By classifying some of the roads as state highways, the responsibility of maintenance and development of these roads was shifted to the Chandigarh Administration as the funds were being received for the purpose from the ‘Central Road Fund’, which was created by levying additional duty on petrol and was a non-lapsing fund. As a result of strict enforcement of traffic rules and checking of drunken driving, the Administration has been able to prevent several motor vehicular accidents in the city.
Though as such it has not been pointed out that roads on both the ends of Madhya Marg have been named as state highway in the respective states.”
Hence, concluded as, ‘for the reasons mentioned above, we do not find any merit in the present petition. The same is accordingly dismissed.’Plea of president of ArriveSafe, to quash the notification dismissed
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