Patna HC: Lack of Implementation of Liquor Ban Puts Lives of Bihar’s Citizens at Danger; CJ Requested to Take Cognizance of Issue

Savvy Thakur

Published on: October 19, 2022 at 11:33 IST

The Patna High Court recently stated in a sharply worded ruling that Bihar State Authorities had failed to fully enact a liquor ban in the State and that Bihar people’ lives had been put in danger as a result of the state’s failure to successfully administer the ban.

In order for the Chief Justice to take cognizance of the matter on its judicial side and institute public interest litigation for the benefit of a greater public interest, the bench of Justice Purnendu Singh directed the HC Registry that its order and the observations therein be presented to him.

When the Court noted that it is aware of the rising trend of manufacturing and smuggling of alcohol due to the State officials’ willful inaction, the bench was primarily discussing the bail petition of one Niraj Singh (who has been detained in a case involving prohibition since November of last year and whose bail request has now been granted).

The Court also considered police reports submitted to the Court, which stated that from October of last year to October of this year, 3,48,170 cases had been registered and 4,01,855 arrests had been made in accordance with the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act.

The Court further noted that even Bihar government officials acknowledge that the state’s jails are getting overcrowded as a result of the widespread arrest of alcohol consumers.

“The prohibition has pushed the consumption of cheaper hooch and drugs not only leading to thriving of parallel economy of illicit liquor, but also the problem relating to alcoholism. It has been found that the laborers earning paltry daily wages were slapped with large fine they could not afford and had to take loans that push them further into the death.”

It is recorded that majority of the citizens between the age group of 18 to 35 years are addicted to liquor. This age group is the most productive age group and it has led in terms of human potential loss due to ill effect of liquor on their physical, psychological, moral and their intellectual growth. Perhaps, the State has not taken any preventive measures to combat menace of such abuse, the Court further remarked.

The Court also noted that after the alcohol ban, many people began looking for alternatives, which allowed narcotics to easily enter the State due to a lack of vigilance while they were on the supply route.

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