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India. Bihar brings in new law to ban alcohol

The state government in Bihar headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday brought a new law to ban alcohol in the state barely two days after the Patna High Court had quashed its previous total prohibition order.

Today being Sunday, chief minister Kumar held a special meeting of his Cabinet to notify the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to impose total ban on sale and consumption of alcohol with immediate effect. Experts say the new law is even harsher than the previous one revoked by the court.

“The ban on alcohol will continue further in Bihar as it has brought a sort of social revolution in the state and its impact is quite visible,” the chief minister told the media after implementing the new law.

Stating that the liquor ban has brought tremendous changes on various fronts, Kumar said around Rs100 billion (Dh5.5 billion) which was being wasted on buying liquor was now being spent on constructive works. “This has improved the economic condition of the masses,” he claimed.

On Friday, the Patna High Court had struck down the state government’s order imposing total prohibition in the state, terming it as “illegal” in what many believed was a major setback to the chief minister.

The court passed the order while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by various organisations which had termed state government’s new prohibition law as “draconian” and sought for amendments.

The ruling Nitish Kumar government in Bihar had imposed total ban on sale, consumption and manufacture of liquor in April this year after a new excise and prohibition bill was passed from both houses of the Bihar state assembly.

Initially, the government had imposed total ban on county-made liquor but soon later it also put blanket ban on all kinds of liquor.

Earlier this month, Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent for the new Prohibition and Excise Bill about a month after it was sent to him for approval.

3 Oct. 2016

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