Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gujarat govt clears ordinance to toughen prohibition law

The Gujarat government on Thursday cleared an ordinance, proposing to toughen the rules against sale and consumption of alcohol in the state. It would now be forwarded to Governor O P Kohli for his consent. The ordinance — passed during a state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani — proposed imprisonment up to 10 years for those involved in the sale and purchase of liquor in Gujarat, besides a maximum fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
As per the current prohibition Act, a person would be jailed for up to three years if he/she found guilty of the same offence. It also prescribed a maximum of three years and a minimum of one year imprisonment for creating nuisance after consuming alcohol. Under the prevailing Act, the punishment for the offence is one to three months of jail and/or fine up to Rs 500.
To deter government officials from helping those involved in violation of the prohibition Act, the ordinance proposed a maximum of seven-year imprisonment to such staffers, besides imposition of Rs 1 lakh fine. Those helping the operators of liquor dens in the state would be liable to a maximum of 10-year imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh under the proposed ordinance. Simultaneously, those creating obstruction for police or launch an attack on them while implementing the Prohibition Act would be jailed for five years and have to pay at least Rs 5 lakh as fine.
The ordinance, though, does not have any provision against police officials under whose jurisdiction liquor dens would be found. Announcing the development, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters that the move was in consonance with the Gujarat government’s commitment towards the prohibition policy and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Asked why the new ordinance does not propose any action against erring police officials, Jadeja said, “That part is not included in the ordinance. But, our additional chief secretary (Home) is already holding meetings with officials to impose stricter action against those police officials under whose jurisdictional area liquor dens are busted. And it will be decided soon.” He also said that the vehicles used for transport of liquor would be confiscated and remain with the state government.

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