Patna: In a major setback to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the grand secular alliance government, the Patna High Court on Friday struck down the Bihar Prohibition Act by terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”.
Giving his first reaction on the High Court verdict JD (U) leader and party spokesperson Niraj Kumar said, “Legal options are open we will first examine the verdict and then take steps accordingly.”
According to Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore “verdict doesn’t affect ban on country made liquor but only quashes state government’s April 5 notification which prohibits sale, consumption and possession of IMFL in Bihar.”
He further added that, “after the ban was imposed on April 5 state government had cancelled all licences which means that sale of liquor by old licence holders will be illegal.”
The verdict allows people to buy and consume liquor from other states. A Public Interest Litigation was filed a day after Nitish Kumar government had declared Bihar a total dry state.
The petition contended that the state government’s decision violated human rights of a citizen about their drinking and eating habit. The state government later passed the amended liquor bill 2016 during the monsoon session giving more teeth to the prohibition act.
The new act was termed as draconian as it had the provision to punish even adult family members of the person caught consuming or possessing liquor in the state. The verdict may also hamper the political prospects of Nitish Kumar who had launched a massive campaign against liquor consumption in other states advocating harsh act to impose Bihar like prohibition....