Bihar government today moved the Supreme Court challenging the Patna High Court order quashing the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state. The appeal against the high court’s September 30 decision was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur which agreed to give Bihar government an urgent hearing on Friday.
The petition, which was mentioned through senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan and advocate Keshav Mohan, urged the apex court to stay high court order, quashing the government notification to ban liquor.
However two days after the high court quashed the order on prohibition, Bihar government on Gandhi Jayanti came out with a new law banning liquor with harsher provisions like arrest of all adults in the event of recovery of the contraband in their house.
In its notification, the government notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to ensure that the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well spiced and domestic liquor, continued in the state.
While assailing September 30 high court verdict, Bihar government urged the court to decide whether State can impose absolute prohibition on distribution and consumption of liquor and whether an individual can claim right to consume liquor as his or her fundamental right under the Constitution.
It claimed that as a consequence of the high court order, the state government’s efforts to bring complete prohibition on liquor, in performance of its constitutional obligations, has been frustrated.
The high court had on September 30 quashed April 5 notification of the state government banning consumption and sale of alcohol in the state, saying it was ultra vires to the Constitution.
The order was passed on a batch of petitions filed by Liquor Trade Association and others, challenging the liquor law brought in by the Nitish Kumar government with stringent penal provisions.
The Grand Secular Alliance government had first banned manufacture, trade, sale and consumption of country-made liquor since April 1, but later imposed a blanket ban on all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, in the state.