Ex-Servicemen during a march protesting liquor ban in Bihar on Friday.

Friday saw hundreds of ex-army men take out a protest march from Danapur cantonment to Patna against the arrest of several serving and former army officers for violating the liquor ban imposed in the State. As per the new law, between April to August, almost 70 army officials have been arrested and sent to jail on charges of carrying liquor in trains passing through the state.

A five-member delegation of the Bihar Ex-Servicemen League submitted a memorandum to the Governor Ramnath Kovind, demanding to be exempted from the Excise and Prohibition Act and stated that the state government banning consumption of liquor by them was not acceptable and completely against the law.

Several members of the delegation stated that liquor was a medicine for the army officials and they have been allowed a certain quota for alcohol consumption by the Ministry of Defence itself. They also claimed to be in favour of the liquor ban, but for the addicts and not for the Army Personnel.

Although the police stopped the march before Raj Bhavan, the delegation was allowed to go ahead and submit their demands, who plan to carry an even larger level protest if they don’t receive any response from the government’s side.

Source- Free press journal, The Hindu

SC upholds Kerala liquor restrictions

The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday agreed to Kerala’s new liquor policy that prohibits consumption in public and limits serving of alcohol to five-star hotels. The SC has also reminded all the state governments that, Constitution places a accountability on them to “at least contain, if not curtail, consumption of alcohol”.

A bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Shiva Kirti Singh held that “strict state regulation is imperative” to dispirit habitual and extreme consumption of alcohol. It has been said that, not giving bar licences to establishments other than five-star hotels, has to be viewed as a “positive step towards bringing down the consumption of alcohol, or as preparatory to prohibition”.

The court in its judgment stated that, “The court cannot be blind to the fact that a social stigma at least as far as the family unit is concerned is still attached to the consumption of alcohol.” It also read that, free deal in alcohol denude family wealth and capital, leaving women and children as its most helpless victims.

The new law dismissed a clutch of petitions signed by hotels and other associations. The apex court cautioned Kerala government against the issuance of licenses wildly for the trade of use of beer and wine, pointing out that granting license is “a gateway to the consumption of hard liquor, and indeed is a social malaise in itself,” and urged the government to evaluate its norms.

Sources: The Indian Express The New Indian Express

Supreme court upholds Kerala liquor policy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the new liquor policy formulated by the Kerala state government. The Oomen Chandy government introduced the policy last year as the first step towards making the state alcohol-free within 10 years.

According to the new policy, alcohol consumption and sale will be restricted to only five star hotels, thus removing other liquor bars out of the picture.

The Bench of Justices Vikramajit Sen and Shiva Kitti Singh rejected the petitions moved by various hotel and bar associations against the ban. The petitioners represented by Attorney-General Mukul Rohtagi argued that the new policy was discriminatory since it allowed only five star hotels or pubs to serve liquor. The state government, however, defended their stand by saying that those removed from the business had no fundamental right to continue selling liquor at a bar.

Further, the apex court said, “History has painstakingly made it abundantly clear that prohibition has not succeeded. Therefore strict state regulation is imperative.”

As per the new policy, only 27 bars at five star hotels across the state can serve liquor.

700 bars had to be shut down due to the new guidelines implemented by the state government last year.

Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country and earns around 3.8 billion dollars per year from tourism. This move is likely to affect the revenue generated from tourism.

Underage drinking draws police attention

Three months after liquor was served to minors at a party, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has started its probe into the incident which involved Hotel Riverview at Mundhwa and Maya Lounge, Wagholi Road serving alcohol to students of class IX, X, and XI.

 

Read the whole story in Pune Mirror.