Patna: Even after the Patna High Court struck down Nitish Kumar government's Anti-liquor Act, deeming it 'illegal', the Bihar government on Sunday implemented the new stringent Bihar Excise and Prohibition Act by re-imposing ban on sale of alcohol in the state.
According to reports, the state government is planning to approach the Supreme Court against Patna High Court's order quashing its April 5 notification regarding amendments in old Excise Act.
Bihar government also claimed that the blanket ban, which came in force on April 5, had led to a betterment in the situation in the state and crime rate had come down considerably in a short period of time.
"From today, liquor ban has been reinforced in Bihar. Now, people are not wasting money on alcohol like before. It is inspired from Mahatma Gandhi. We will mark the centenary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi's Champaran Satyagraha movement by implementing the new Act on Gandhi Jayanti," CM Nitish told media here.
"Our government is committed to continue with total prohibition in the state. Today, people in the state are no longer wasting their money on alcohol like before and that money is being used in better ways. Financial situation in the state has been improving after the liquor ban came into force," CM Nitish said.
"All the previous excise laws, including the one quashed by the high court on Friday, would be repealed with the enforcement of the new Act. The people should go and see the post-prohibition peaceful environment in villages which earlier used to present a picture of chaos, especially in the evenings," he added.
"These savings will boost the economy of the state in the long run as people would invest it in businesses," he added.
The new Act contains harsher provisions such as making all adults culpable in case a liquor-related offence is committed in a house and imposition of community penalty in case of repeated offence of manufacturing liquor or trading in it in a village.
Some of the old provisions that would find place in the new law are penalising someone for allowing use of premises for a liquor-related offence, penalising a company and everyone in charge of its affairs if the offender is a company, and fining the owner of a house from where utensils meant for making liquor are found.
Recently, the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill -2016 was termed ‘illegal’ by the Patna High Court which had provisions of strict punishment to prevent consumption of liquor.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had roped in 40 lakh JD(U) volunteers just a few days back to speak in favour of the ban. Political adversary turned coalition partner RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had also extended his support to Nitish's decision.