Delhi HC seeks Delhi Govt response on Plea against New Excise Policy

Bar Drinks

Aishwarya Rathore-

The Delhi High Court has given notice of a petition challenging the Delhi Excise Policy 2021, which reduces the minimum age for consumption of liquor in the National Capital.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has asked the counsel appearing for Delhi Government to seek instructions in the matter and file a counter affidavit by the next date.

The petition has been filed by an NGO namely All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha. Advocate Vijay Sharma appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

Advocate Vijay Sharma stated, “The minimum age for consumption of liquor in the National Capital was reduced from 25 to 21, to bring it at par with the prescribed age in the neighbouring State of Uttar Pradesh.”

The plea states, “Reducing the age for consumption of liquor is going to increase alcoholism amongst the students and younger generation of the society.”

It further highlights that the decision is contrary to Article 47 of the Constitution which prescribes that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks which are injurious to health.

Inter alia, the Petitioner has assailed the Delhi Government’s decision to not open government liquor stores for the sale of Indian-made foreign liquor/ foreign liquor.

The counsel for the Delhi Government, Advocate SK Tripathi accepted the notice.

Surprisingly, the Delhi High Court ruled in September 2019 that there is a “wrong notion” that the minimum prescribed age for drinking liquor is 25 years under the Delhi Excise Act which only prohibits its sale to people below that age.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and C Hari Shankar had said, “The age of drinking has nothing to do with the prohibition imposed by the Delhi government under the Excise Act. We see no reason to quash Section 23 of the Act which prohibits a licensee to sell or deliver liquor to a person of less than 25 years of age.”

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