Govt. asked to check liquor sale to youths

NEW DELHI DEC. 4. The Delhi High Court today directed the Delhi Government to strictly implement its policy of not selling liquor to youths below 25 years of age.

Disposing of a public interest litigation challenging certain aspects of the new Excise policy of the city Government, a Division Bench comprising Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice R.S. Sodhi asked the authorities to see to it that the court's direction was implemented in word as well as in spirit.

Counsel for the Government submitted that under Section 29 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, which is in operation in the Capital as well, sale or delivery of liquor or an intoxicant to any person apparently below 25 years of age is prohibited.

The Bench said that liquor shops here should be directed to display signboards outside their outlets warning clearly that people below 25 years of age would be sold liquor.

One other direction which the Bench asked the Government to act upon is that no liquor shop would be allowed in residential areas or premises, near schools, religious places and institutional areas.

The petitioner, Salekh Chand Jain, through his counsel, Sugriv Dubey, had challenged the new Excise policy for 2002-03 on several counts, including the sale of liquor through Internet, under the liberalised Excise policy. On the proposal for on-line sale of liquor, the Government submitted before the court that it had decided to defer the proposal; and the proposal for home delivery was also under consideration.

Regarding the proposal of sale of beer through department stores, the Government took the stand that it had so far not been implemented.

However, it emphasised that the main objective of making beer available through select department stores was to wean away people from hard drink.

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