Bihar govt. enforces new prohibition law

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. File photo  

Just days after the Patna High Court quashed the prohibition law in Bihar, the State government on Sunday notified and enforced a new one with more stringent provisions.

The government also declared that it would appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court judgment on Friday.

At a special Cabinet meeting, the State government notified the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 which ensured complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor — both Indian Made Foreign Liquor and country-made — in the State with immediate effect.

The Nitish Kumar Cabinet also took a pledge that the government would continue with “total prohibition.”

This new law, though, is by and large based on the previous one, which was set aside by the High Court on Friday. It retains most of the previous provisions but the government has also introduced some harsher clauses to “plug the loopholes.”

After the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister told journalists that the new prohibition law would be the real tribute to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, as it was made effective on Gandhi Jayanti. “It’s our commitment to implement prohibition law in the State with complete ban on liquor…it has been ushering in a social change in the society at large,” said Mr. Nitish Kumar.

According to him the ban on liquor had received a warm welcome from all corners of the State. While responding to a question, Mr. Kumar also said the role of the Opposition on the issue had been “exposed.”

The Public Relations Department had given prominent advertisements in local dailies on Gandhi Jayanti with three anti-liquor quotes of Mahatma Gandhi in bold fonts. Soon after the High Court had declared the prohibition law in the State as “ultra vires of Constitution”, the State government had made it clear that it would introduce a more stringent law.

Earlier, this new Act was approved by the legislature on August 4 amid walkout by the Opposition parties. Later, on September 7, Governor Ram Nath Kovind ratified it.

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