PATNA: A public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed today in the Patna High Court challenging the Bihar government’s decision to clamp total ban on sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.
An ex-serviceman A N Singh filed the PIL in the Patna High Court, a day after the Nitish Kumar ministry declared Bihar a total dry state.
The petition contended that the state government’s decision violated human rights of a citizen about what to eat and drink.
The writ described the penal provision in the Amended Excise Act of Bihar, which was passed in the state Legislative Assembly on March 31 last, as “draconian, arbitrary and malafide” as it violated Article 14, 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution.
Date for hearing the petition has not yet been fixed.
The petition came a day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced the state cabinet’s decision to impose total ban on sale and consumption of liquor including Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in the state with immediate effect.
The Bihar government had banned sale and consumption of country and spiced liquor in rural areas from April 1 this year, but had allowed sale of IMFL in towns and cities.
“But, the tremendous response of people, particularly women and children against liquor in Patna and other towns in a short period of four days, only convinced us that a conducive environment against alcohol has been created in the state and that’s why we decided to go for a total ban on liquor after four days only,” Kumar had said yesterday.
The Army cantonment areas have been kept out of the ban order.
On ‘toddy’, the state cabinet decided to strictly impose the 1991 guidelines which prohibit sale of toddy within 50 meter of places like hospital, education institutions, religious places among others in towns and 100 meters radius in rural areas.
The 1991 guidelines also prohibit opening of toddy shops at bazar haat, entrance point of such haat and densely populated areas in villages among others.–PTI