Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti introduced another liquor law in the state. The move comes two days after the Patna High Court struck down the April 5 notification on the prohibition of alcohol calling it “illegal.” The new law comes in with harsh provisions such as arrest of all adults in the event of recovery of the contraband in their house.
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.
Besides retaining many provisions of the previous one, the new liquor law has some more stringent provisions including enhancing duration of imprisonment, hiking amount of fine, arrest of all adults in case of recovery of liquor bottle from a house and collective fine on a place in case of habitual violation of prohibition.
According to sources, the state government is planning to approach the Supreme Court against Patna High Court’s order quashing its April 5 notification regarding amendments in old Excise Act.
Addressing a press conference, Kumar said, “Now people are not wasting money on alcohol like before, that money is being used in better ways, financial situation is improving in the state.”
The CM told reporters that the new liquor law, brought into force from today, would be a real tribute to the Father of the Nation when the state is readying to observe the centenary celebration of Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagraha against British rule from the state in early 2017.
The Court on Friday said that the prohibitions were in violation of the Article 14, that provides equality before the law since family members or neighbours are liable to be held criminally responsible for the actions of someone else. The Article 21 says that one one can be deprived of their lives or personal property except according to a ‘procedure established by law’. A division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh quashed the April 5 notification of the state government to stop consumption and sale of alcohol in the state. The April 5 notification is ultra vires to the Constitution, hence not enforceable, the court said in its verdict.