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People drink at public places at all times, but that doesn’t mean it is permitted. It is illegal and there are consequences to it.

Today, there has been a rampant increase in consumption of liquor at public places since the duty rates have been hiked in 2011 and 2013 and the disregard of the state excise policy which prohibits consumption of alcohol in public places can be seen vividly. It is socially not acceptable to drink at public places in the eyes of law, therefore, large number of programmes and drives have been carried out from time to time to spread awareness among people. The efforts of the government have proved to be ineffective, and the laws against the consumption of liquor are merely an inconvenience for the people who drink at public places.

The new law introduced imposes strict control against the consumption of liquor by restricting drinking in public except the rooms permitted by the government for the same. The important thing to understand is: one is not allowed to drink outside such premises.

Why all the commotion ?

Hike in duty rate eventually increases the price of alcohol. Moreover, taxes like VAT and Service tax makes consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants unaffordable. Thus, people have started drinking at public places like parks, roads, in vehicles and outside wine-shops, after purchasing the alcohol from liquor shops. Surprisingly, liquor costs twice the price in hotels and bars than they are sold at liquor shops. For instance, a quarter bottle of medium ranged whisky which costs around Rs. 210 is sold in Hotels and within the permitted premises at Rs. 400. Therefore, large gathering of people can be seen outside the liquor shops consuming alcohols and at such other different public places. Also the decrease in popularity of such premises and consumption at hotels or bars among the people is evident. This law against liquor consumption in public place is also supported by the imposition of penalty of Rs. 50,000 on Liquor shop outside of which any person is found consuming liquor, whereas penal actions can be taken by public officers against the person consuming liquor at any public place.

Provision has also been made for storage of alcohol by an individual. The permissible limit has been set to 1.5 litres which can be stored at home or at any residential place by any person and storage of liquor beyond this permissible limit is actionable under law. In case of parties or any function, liquor storage permit is granted to any person concerned for storage of unlimited stock of liquor. Special permission is to be taken prior to that and the fee of Rs. 13,250 along with it.

Liquor shops and bars are becoming one of the major problems for residents of the locality where they are established. There have been innumerable instances where complaints are raised against indecency and nuisance by the people sloshed outside liquor shops. There is no such provision to keep check over the establishment of liquor shops in residential areas. As far as the issue of license to liquor shop is concerned, the only check made is adequacy of construction and permission from the local bodies.

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