Patna HC Strikes Down Bihar Liquor Ban

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New Delhi: Patna high court on Friday struck down Nitish government’s Anti-liquor Act, deeming it ‘illegal’.

The Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill-2016 had strict provisions like arrest of all adult members of a family in the event of liquor bottle being found in a house.

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State’s Governor Ram Nath Kovind had earlier given his assent to the Bill after more than a month of its passage from both the houses of State Legislature on August 1.

All sections in the new Bill are non-bailable, in which bail can be granted by courts only, and not from the police stations. If the new Bill were to be enforced, only special courts under the Bihar Special Courts Act would try cases related to the violation of the Bihar Prohibition law. These special courts, till now, had been trying only corruption cases and CBI related cases.

Another stringent provision in the new law is that if any utensils with a mix of jaggery or grapes is found in any premises, the authorities can be free to assume that process of liquor manufacturing was going on in the premises, and all those providing logistics such as vehicles or containers may be arrested. The new law also empowers the authorities to confiscate houses or premises where liquor is either consumed or stored.

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