Bihar becomes dry state again, enforces new law

Patna : Bihar became a dry state once again as the new stringent Bihar Excise and Prohibition Act came into force from Gandhi Jayanti on Sunday, officials said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the government will not withdraw the liquor ban.

“A special state Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on Sunday formally approved the implementation of the new act in the state,” an official in the Chief Minister’s Office here said.

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All ministers present in the meeting supported the government’s move for the total liquor ban in the state, the official said.

On Friday, the Patna High Court order had struck down the liquor ban in Bihar, which was put into effect as per the old Excise and Prohibition Act from April 5.

The state government had, however, announced before the high court order came that it would enforce about the new stringent law from October 2.

According to the state’s Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore, the Patna High Court order was related to the old act that came into force in April.

He said the high court order will not impact the new act since it was passed by both houses of the Bihar legislature and formally approved by Governor Ram Nath Kovind.

Soon after Sunday’s meeting, Nitish Kumar told the media that his government will not withdraw the liquor ban at all. “…it is our duty to go ahead with the liquor ban.”

Nitish Kumar said since Mahatma Gandhi is a symbol of ‘jan chetna’ (people’s awareness), the government enforced the new law from Gandhi Jayanti, the Mahatma’s birth aniversary.

On Saturday, the Chief Minister appealed to the people, particularly the women, to help government agencies enforce the liquor ban in the state.

As per the new prohibition law, all adult members of a family would be arrested if liquor is found stored in any household.

The Chief Minister said the new legislation is required to plug gaping holes in the previous Act.