THREE MONTHS after the AAP government in Delhi declared war on ‘car-o-bar’ by imposing a fine on those found drinking in public places, the BJP government in Haryana Tuesday announced a fine of Rs 5,000 on such offenders. The fine would be Rs 10,000 for a repeat offence. The Haryana government says it has banned consumption of liquor in a vehicle, whether running or parked. Consumption of liquor on or along the road or in a park, garden, market or a river side has also been made an offence.
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Haryana excise and taxation minister Caption Abhimanyu said the government had notified that no person shall consume liquor at a place that has not been licensed or authorised under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, except at one’s dwelling house.
Haryana additional chief secretary Sanjiv Kaushal told The Indian Express that the new move aims at implementing the provisions of law more strictly to discourage the rising practice of liquor consumption in vehicles. “It’s not that the liquor consumption in vehicles or parks was allowed earlier. But we have notified the new rules to bring more clarity on these offences and penalty,” said Kaushal.
Another excise and taxation officer said that earlier, there was a provision of fine of Rs 500 on possession of liquor per bottle in unauthorised way. Other similar offenders were earlier booked under the same excise Act.
Now, in case of any violation, an excise officer, not below the rank of an assistant excise and taxation officer (excise), would detain the offender, liquor and the vehicle, if any and would forward the case to the deputy excise and taxation commissioner (excise)-and-collector of the district within 24 hours of such detention.
“The collector might either refer the case to the court for trial or dispose of the case himself by imposing a penalty of Rs 5,000 per person for the first offence, Rs.10,000 per person for the second and every subsequent offence,” said Abhimanyu.
He said no penalty would be imposed without affording a reasonable opportunity to the offender or persons concerned who are suspected to have committed the said offence, including the owner or occupier of the premises and owner of the vehicle.
“In case the offender is also found of having created nuisance after consumption of liquor, the case shall be referred to the court for trial,” the minister said.
“If the offender is willing to pay the amount of penalty to be determined by the collector, the offender shall be released immediately on realisation of penalty. In case offender fails to disclose his true identity and furnish surety/security, as may be determined by the collector, he may refer such case to court having jurisdiction for trial,” he added.
If an aggrieved person has presented an appeal, the minister says, the collector may, in his discretion, treat such person as not being in default so long as the appeal remains pending.
“The amount of penalty which remains unpaid after the date specified in the notice or on the expiry of the date extended subsequently, shall be recoverable by auction, arrest or attachment of the property of the persons from whom the same are due or as an arrears of land revenue,” he added.