The state government of Gujarat has passed a law proposing tough action against those who illegally make, sell or transport alcohol in the dry state. The law also proposed to take strong action against the corrupt officials who assist such criminals escape raids on liquor dens.
The move came after an ordinance seeking amendments in the Gujarat Prohibition Act was approved by the state’s cabinet on 15 December 2016.
• The ordinance sought an increase in penalty and jail term for those involved in the illegal sale, purchase and transportation of liquor.
• Those found guilty of such charges will now have to serve a maximum jail term of 10 years and pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh instead of the 3-years jail term stated under the current Act.
• Even the liquor den operators and those assisting them will face up to 10 years of maximum jail term.
• People who create a public nuisance after drinking will also now face a maximum jail term of 3 years and a minimum of one year. The punishment for the same according to the current law is 3 months of jail term and a fine of Rs 200- 500.
• The corrupt officials assisting liquor peddlers escape raids will face up to 7 years of jail term and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
• Vehicles used for transporting liquor will also be confiscated permanently by the government.
Gujarat is the first Indian state to impose total prohibition on the consumption, storage, manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. The legislation was passed in 1958 after a number of people lost their lives following the consumption of methyl alcohol.
However, the ban didn’t stop liquor consumption as illegal liquor dens flourished, leading to the formation of a full-grown underground liquor business.