Liquor ban in Bihar is back as SC stays Patna high court ruling quashing the ban
Shilpi Thakur 22 Nov 2016

Liquor ban in Bihar is back as SC stays Patna high court ruling quashing the ban

The liquor ban in Bihar is back as the Supreme Court has stayed a judgment passed by the Patna high court which had quashed a state notification upholding the liquor ban in the state.
This is an interim measure which is likely to continue until the court vacates its stay which was passed keeping in mind the contradictory nature of a ban on one hand and fundamental rights on the other.

Further, even if the court had not issued a stay, the ban would still be applicable due to the operation of a new state law which has specific provisions for the liquor ban. Therefore, in one way or the other, Bihar could not have escaped the liquor ban for too long.

It was on 30 September, that the Patna high court had struck down the state government’s notification that sought to enforce complete prohibition in the state, terming it quite unreasonable and draconian. It said the ban can be justified in a police state and not in a civilized society.

As a result of this, liquor prohibition in the state was lifted. However, within the next two days the Bihar government introduced a new notification, the provisions of which prohibited liquor consumption and possession in the state.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 on 2 October as a result of which sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well as spiced and domestic liquor was prohibited. The new law prescribes harsher punishment for possession and consumption of alcohol.

In the recent days, public interest litigation for national ban of alcohol was also brought before the Supreme Court, which was dismissed after one hearing.


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