Facing heat over its stringent provisions, the Bihar government on Monday passed the amendments to the liquor prohibition bill in the ongoing monsoon session of the state assembly, ANI reported. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, while defending the government’s decision to continue with the prohibition law in the state, said: “Liquor ban was introduced for the poor people. They were wasting a major part of their income on buying alcohol. Domestic violence was high. I did this for the betterment of poor.”
The amendments to the stringent Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 in the state legislature follows a backlash over misuse of the law.
According to the amended law, a first-time offender under the Bihar’s anti-liquor law will be able to walk free after paying a fine instead of undergoing a five-year jail term. Such an offender will have to pay a fine of Rs 50,000, state Advocate General Lalit Kishore said.
For failing to pay the fine, the offender, convicted for consuming liquor, will have to undergo three months jail term but for a second offence, the prison term will be five years under the proposed measures.
The punishment for trade/manufacture of liquor has been reduced to a five-year sentence for the first offence while it will be 10 years if repeated.
The amended provisions have also done away with a collective penalty on a group of people or residents of a particular village if they are found to be repeat offenders.
Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav alleged that the government has been unable to check the illegal supply of liquor in the state. “Even after liquor ban, people are caught with liquor stockpiles. It should have been the responsibility of the Bihar Govt to ensure security on the state borders and get hold of the factories from where liquor is being supplied,” he said.