To counter incidents of drunk driving and reduce road accidents, the Supreme Court ordered a complete ban on all liquor shops located within a 500-metre range of national and state highways across the nation from April 1st. While the ban was hailed and applauded by many, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (who has taken unprecedented steps to make Bihar a dry state himself), most people, including bar owners and politicians like Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, demanded some relaxation. Many states were also worried as a drop in liquor sales would directly hit their revenue
But one crafty resto bar owner in Kerala did not shut down his shop like thousands of others before him. He resorted to India’s favourite way of getting around problems—jugaad. According to The News Minute, he spent 2 lakh rupees and constructed a 250-300 metre path leading to his Aishwarya Restobar so that he can claim his bar is located more than 500 m from NH 17.
So, technically, the bar is not longer 'situated within 500 metres from the highway.
However, it is yet to know whether this trick will actually give the bar a free pass from the new liquor ban near highways.
In the same manner, Cyber Hub, which has many pubs and restaurant-bars and is situated in Gurugram, Haryana, dealt with this problem by changing its entrance to increase its distance from NH 8 by one kilometer.
The governments of various states such as Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Punjab are also not lagging behind and trying to exploit the loopholes of the order by doing the denotification of major state highways and asking help from the central government in denotifying the national highways which are passing through them.
Now it will be interesting to see how the SC will react but one thing that we must admit is that we Indians are too good when it comes to manipulating law.