Opposition BJP on Saturday asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to reconsider the government’s decision to implement the new liquor law having same provisions as the one scrapped by Patna High Court and suggested convening of an all-party meeting to discuss prohibition in future.
“In the light of Patna High Court’s verdict quashing the government’s notification for enforcement of prohibition in the state, the Bihar government should not make it a prestige issue and reconsider implementing the new liquor law from October 2 which has the same provisions as in the April 5 notification which was quashed by HC,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in Patna.
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Hours after the Patna High Court had struck down the April 5 notification on prohibition, Kumar had convened a high-level meeting on Friday which decided to call a cabinet meeting on Sunday to go ahead with bringing the new liquor law. Asserting that BJP was never in favour of the ‘Talibani’ liquor law having unreasonable provisions, he said the government should enforce new prohibition law only after incorporating certain amendments so that it is not quashed again by the High Court.
“The government should not be adamant on implementing the new liquor law from October 2 without giving much thought to the High Court verdict. It can wait for another 10 days or so and in the meantime it can convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue,” he suggested. The government could bring an ordinance in this regard and if required a special session of legislature could be convened to pass a completely new law by incorporating amendments for prohibition in future, Sushil Modi, a former deputy chief minister, said.
He said the excise law which was struck down had stringent provisions like community fine, confiscation of premises, personal punishments, both physical and monetary including arrest for possessing liquor bottle. Asked to comment on the adamant stance of Kumar in enforcing the new prohibition law from October 2 with the same provisions as the one struck down by the HC, the BJP leader said the chief minister was hunting for some alibi to get rid of alcohol ban.
“In the past six months, Nitish Kumar has got the experience that it was very difficult to implement prohibition in the state and hence he is looking for some excuses and opportunity to say that he wanted to implement it but the high court came in the way,” he said.