“Will Not Touch This Matter”: SC Refuses Plea to Establish National Alcohol Prevention Policy

Judge gavel Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 13, 2022 at 20:34 IST

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear Public Interest Litigation that called for the creation of a National Alcohol Prevention Strategy.

The petitioner stated at the outset that while some states had completely outlawed alcohol, others had encouraged the sale of the substance.

He also provided government reports on the serious effects of alcohol and claimed that despite the concurrent list giving the Central government the authority to formulate policies on the subject, the Centre had not yet done so.

The CJI expressed his disbelief in the argument and said that,

“But then, we will be virtually commanding them to have policies on this. It is their discretion when it comes to concurrent list. Correct? Because there are state-level legislations which are in the field, therefore the union agencies may as per their discretion decide if they wish to intervene.”

The petitioner went on to say that it was inappropriate for the centre to leave the field entirely uncontrolled. He claimed that alcohol addicts had violent tendencies that negatively impacted not only society as a whole but also kids in particular.

However, CJI Lalit disagreed, saying-

“These are not purely matters for social reform. Integrally connected with them is the revenue issue. And many of the states depend upon the revenue which is generated from liquor.”

“If we try to do something, what will happen with the sources of revenue? And those revenues might be in turn utilised for social upliftment…These are not matters for the court to enter into.”

Justice S Ravindra Bhat added–

“Even if we ask the government, and the government comes out with something and we direct them to study, then we say make a law. They say we won’t. Do we make the guidelines ourselves?”

The CJI stated that, “If we go in one direction, it would pull the state revenue in another direction.”

The petition was consequently rejected as withdrawn.

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