Flow of spurious liquor, drugs in the border State of Punjab will ‘finish off’ the youth and then the country, says Supreme Court

‘Illegal liquor and its transportation have to be curbed. It has to be stopped,’ Bench headed by Justice M.R. Shah told the Punjab Government

Published - December 05, 2022 04:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Representational file image.

Representational file image. | Photo Credit: L. BALACHANDAR

Unbridled flow of drugs and spurious liquor will “finish off” the youth of the border State of Punjab and then the entire country, the Supreme Court warned the Punjab Government on Monday.

The court said the State has to issue circulars making the local police responsible for the presence of units making spurious liquor.

“Consumption of drugs is increasing… The youth will be finished. If somebody wants to finish off the country… This is a border State. Every action has to be taken or it will be very easy to finish the youth by drugs and liquor, and then the country,” Justice M.R. Shah, heading a Bench comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar, addressed the Punjab Government, represented by senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha.

Mr. Sinha acknowledged the situation was “alarming” and asked the court to indicate its oral observations in the order.

To this, the Bench retorted that the government was running the State and not the court.

“Stringent action has to be taken. Over 34000 FIRs (First Information Report) have been registered in two years… but only FIRs are filed. What about charge-sheets? Illegal liquor and its transportation have to be curbed. It has to be stopped,” Justice Shah observed.

The court said poor people suffer and it was they who died, and not affluent persons who consume branded liquor for “fun”.

“People who take it [spurious liquor] are poor labourers after a hard day’s work to ease their pain… This is very unfortunate,” Justice Shah said.

Mr. Sinha said the clampdown on illegal manufacturing units and vends was an ongoing process. He said 13,000 such vends had been destroyed and over ₹10-₹20 crore had been collected. He said three charge-sheets had been filed after clubbing various FIRs. More forces were deployed, especially in border areas of the State. He said that in many areas every house had been changed into a liquor unit.

The court asked what the State did with the money which ran into crores. When Mr. Sinha said it was deposited in the treasury, the court asked whether it was used for “campaigning”.

At one point, a petitioner intervened to ask the court to direct the State to pay compensation in cases of deaths by consumption of spurious liquor.

“Who told you to consume this liquor… and the common man who pays taxes to the State has to pay the money? You have to look at this from the other angle too. We will not say anything,” Justice Shah reacted.

The petitioner also informed the court that spurious liquor was sold in branded alcohol bottles.

The court directed the State to file a detailed affidavit on what further steps it was going to take to control the situation. It said the money seized ought to be used for public awareness campaigns against the bane.

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