Following the Bihar government’s appeal, challenging the Patna High Court’s decision to quash the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state, the Supreme Court today put stay on the HC’s order.
Earlier, the Patna High court on September 30, quashed the government liquor ban policy calling it “unreasonable and draconian” and “cannot be justified in a civilised society”. Days after the High Court’s decision, on October 2nd, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came up with a new and more stringent law prohibitting liquor 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.
A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit, issued notices to all respondents including some liquor manufacturers on whose plea the high court had held as illegal and unconstitutional the Nitish Kumar government’s prohibition law and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.
The Grand Secular Alliance government led by Nitish Kumar had banned consumption and sale of country-made liquor in Bihar since April 1, but later imposed prohibition in all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, on April 5. It 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.
(With inputs from PTI)