After the Patna high court quashed its order on prohibition, the Bihar government on Gandhi Jayanti came out with a new law banning liquor with more harsh provisions like arrest of all adults in the event of recovery of the contraband in their house.

 

The government notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to ensure that the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) as well spiced and domestic liquor continued in the state.

 

At a special cabinet convened on Sunday, chief minister Nitish Kumar and other members of his cabinet took a pledge that the government would continue with prohibition which is “ushering positive social change” in the state.

 

Besides retaining many provisions of the previous one, the new liquor law has some more stringent provisions including enhancing duration of imprisonment, hiking amount of fine, arrest of all adults in case of recovery of liquor bottle from a house and collective fine on a place in case of habitual violation of prohibition.


Principal secretary (cabinet secretariat) Brajesh Mehrotra usually briefs the media about cabinet decisions, but on Sunday the chief minister himself took the mike and answered all queries.


Nitish Kumar told reporters that the new liquor law, brought into force from Sunday, would be a real tribute to Mahatma Gandhi when the state is readying to observe the centenary celebration of Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagraha against British rule from the state in early 2017.


The new liquor law came into force in Bihar barely two days after the Patna high court had on Friday quashed its 5 April notification describing it as ultra vires of the Constitution.


The new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 after approval from both houses of the state legislatures on 4 August, got the consent of governor Ram Nath Kovind on 7 September last year.


Nitish Kumar told reporters that after receiving the approval from the governor, the state cabinet had in its meeting on 14 September last year gave it a nod for notification from 2 October.


Principal additional advocate general Lalit Kishore who had attended a high level meeting convened by the chief minister hours after the HC order on Friday which had quashed its 5 April notification describing it as ultra vires of Constitution, made it clear that the division bench of chief justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari and justice Navnati Prasad Singh had quashed the 5 April notification on prohibition and did not say anything about the Amended Excise Act.