State liable to pay aid for liquor deaths: Allahabad High Court

The court was hearing a petition filed by widows and son of men who lost their lives after drinking poisonous liquor

September 01, 2022 11:21 pm | Updated 11:21 pm IST - New Delhi:

File image for representation.

File image for representation. | Photo Credit: A. Muralitharan

State has complete control over liquor sale and is hence liable to pay compensation to the kin of those who lost lives and vision after alcohol poisoning, said Allahabad High Court while hearing the petition filed by widows and son of men who lost their lives due to consumption of poisonous liquor in Azamgarh in 2021.

The counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Jai Prakash Mishra, told the court that all the consumers have purchased liquor from Licensed Retail Vend Country Liquor Shops which were sold by the licensees to them as branded liquor. As per charge sheet prepared by the police the licensed vendors and certain other persons were involved in manufacture and sale of poisonous liquor which was being sold in the nearby areas.

“Thus prima facie, the State Government, having complete control and regulation to manufacture and sale of liquor under the U.P. Excise Act, 1910 and Rules framed thereunder; is also liable to pay specified amount to the sufferer or successors of the deceased,” the High Court said.

The court had asked the State to pay the compensation under the provisions of “Mukhya Mantri Kisan Evam Sarvhit Bima Yojna” which provides for compensation on account of death or permanent disability due to poison etc.

Among the 11 petitioners in the case, nine are the widows of the men who died due to consumption of poisonous country made liquor purchased from Licensed Retail Vend Country Liquor Shop while one is the son of a victim. The last petitioner is the person who also consumed the alcohol and lost his vision.

The court also observed that as per the records of the writ petition it appears that most of the petitioners are illiterate and belong to weaker section of society.

Rani Sonkar, wife of deceased Pappu Soknak, who is one of the 11 petitioners told The Hindu that she is struggling to earn after the demise of her husband. She has three children, all less then 5 years of age.

“Even when my husband had brought the liquor from government licensed shop, I was denied of any compensation for my loss,” she said.

The Chief Standing Counsel was granted two weeks’ time to file a counter affidavit.

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