People of Bihar want a more ‘sober’ dry law

The Bihar Excise and Prohibition Department received over a 1,000 suggestions in the last 12 days from common people seeking changes in the provisions of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016.

“While some have given suggestions against the provisions in the Act, some have supported them. If there are changes to be incorporated into the provisions, the department will do it”, said an Excise official. But, department sources said while most of the suggestions sought changes in the stringent provisions, some wanted the Act made more “moderate and practical”.

“Some wanted the government to opt for a middle path and implement prohibition in a phased manner without compromising on the State’s development and economy”, said another Excise official.

Government sources, though, told The Hindu that the State government had already decided to make changes in certain strict provisions to make the Act more “viable and practical”.

With the public and the Opposition parties terming the Act “draconian”, the Excise Department had on November 1 sought feedback from the people through newspaper advertisements.

Hearing in SC

Mr. Kumar too has been asking people “to not only criticise the provisions of the Act but also come out with suggestions”. However, informed sources told The Hindu that the State government was forced to seek feedback in view of the upcoming hearing of a petition filed against the Act in the Supreme Court. The Chief Minister had recently met eminent lawyer Gopal Subramaniam and State counsel Gopal Singh in Delhi who reportedly said some of the stringent provisions of the Act might not be defendable in the apex court.

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