The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to impose a blanket ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in three districts of the state.
The ruling came in response to a writ petition filed by Udit Narayan Tiwari, seeking a ban on a bar serving liquor in Haridwar, stating that it violated the government order passed in February 2002.The order had prohibited the sale and consumption of liquor in Haridwar given its religious prominence.
The PIL was heard by a division bench comprising Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh who ordered a complete ban on liquor in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, and Uttarkashi districts, effective from next fiscal year.
These districts are home to the highly religious Char Dham temples. While Kedarnath and Badrinath are located in Rudraprayag and Chamoli respectively, Gangotri and Yamunotri both are located in Uttarkashi.
The bench stated that though the sale of liquor is already prohibited in the area, a complete ban is essential, especially considering the growing tendency of drinking among youngsters. Along with this, the bench of justices also directed the state government to ban public drinking and keep a check on ‘large drunken gatherings’.
The court was of the opinion that no one should create a nuisance or become violent after being drunk in both public places as well as inside private homes. It also stated there should no liquor shop within a kilometre of an educational institution or religious place of worship, starting next fiscal year.
Tobacco also took a hit, as the court ordered the state government to ban the sale of tobacco in areas that fall within the five-kilometre radius from Gurdwara Nanakmatta, Gurdwara Meetha Reetha Sahib, and Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib.