Nitish passes new law to ensure Bihar remains dry
Two days after the Bihar High Court lifted the ban that the Bihar government imposed on liquor, the state government has announced a new liquor prohibition policy which came into effect on Sunday, Gandhi Jayanthi Divas. This has now reinstated the liquor ban that was lifted by the state’s high court on Saturday.
The government has brought up the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016, targeting ban on production, sale and consumption of alcohol, including Indian Made Foreign Liquor and domestically-made liquors in Bihar.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called for a special high-level meeting, including his cabinet ministers, on Sunday to decide on the high court verdict, in which they have pledged the government would continue with ban on alcohol that is mustering positive changes in Bihar.
Following the court lifting the ban, the state government has formed a new liquor policy. The new policy is harsher than the previous one, there are provisions in the new law to arrest all adults of the family in case of recovery of liquor in home. It also mulls for a collective fine if the ban has been violated habitually. The new law has extended the term of imprisonment and amount of fine. Nitish said the new law coming into effect on the Gandhi Jayanti Divas would be a real tribute for the father of nation, and he added that the proclamation is more meaningful now as the state is going to celebrate the centenary of Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagraha in early 2017.
The new law came into effect in the state two days after the state High Court on Friday quashed its April 5 notification calling it ultra vires of Constitution. After approval from both Houses of state on August 4, the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016, got the consent of Governor Ram Nath Kovind on September 7.
“Liquor consumption is a social stigma,” Nitish Kumar said, who added that the ban would improve society. All previous excise laws, including the previously quashed by the high court on Friday, “would be repealed with the enforcement of the new Act”, he said.
CM Nitish Kumar has said people were not spending money to buy liquor after the ban. He further claimed that the money they spent on liquor has now been diverted to good things. The police records shows that more than 16,000 people have been arrested for violation of the ban in the last six months and more than 1,00,000 liter of illegal liquor has been seized by the police.