Bihar liquor ban: HC quashes prohibition law, calls it illegal
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s much hyped liquor ban act, which was one of the main attraction of his election manifesto has been quashed by the high court now. Today the Patna high court has struck down the controversial Bihar Prohibition of Liquor Act, calling it illegal.
The Bihar Excise and Prohibition Bill, 2016 passed through voice vote in the state Assembly in August was boycotted by the Opposition who were jittery that the state government rejected their proposals. CM Nitish Kumar had refuted all the allegations by the opposition who termed it as a ‘draconian’ law’.
The previous Bihar Excise (Amendment), Act, 2015, passed by the state legislature during the budget session earlier, had provision for three months imprisonment and fine up to Rs 10,000 if excise and police officials harassed people on fabricated charge of consumption and possession of liquor. The new law ensures a strict action with provision to increase the quantum of jail term to three years along with a penalty of Rs one lakh.
According to this law country-made liquor was banned in the state with the effect from April 1st of this year. Indian made foreign liquors too were banned along with this. Though Nitish had to lift the ban on Toddy in the state owing to the pressure from the main allies of this government JD(U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The Bill has been passed by both of the houses of State Legislature on August 1 and the state governor Ram Nath Kovind had signed it. The Nitish Kumar government later added a new provision in the law that allows action against all adult members of a family if liquor is found on their premises or one of them is suspected to have consumed it. Nonbailability was the key factor of the new bill. All sections in it were nonbailable, bail cannot be issued from police stations, only courts were entitled to do it. If the new bill came into effect, the Bihar prohibition law cases would be triled only in ths special courts which are as of now dealing with corruption and CBI related cases