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New Excise Policy 2021: High Court Seeks Delhi Govt's Response On Plea Against Reduction In Minimum Age For Consumption Of Liquor

Akshita Saxena
28 July 2021 7:19 AM GMT
New Excise Policy 2021: High Court Seeks Delhi Govts Response On Plea Against Reduction In Minimum Age For Consumption Of Liquor
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The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a petition challenging Delhi Excise Policy 2021 insofar as it reduces the minimum age for consumption of liquor in the national capital.A Division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has asked the counsel appearing for Delhi Government to seek instructions in the matter and file a counter affidavit by the next date. The matter...

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The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a petition challenging Delhi Excise Policy 2021 insofar as it reduces the minimum age for consumption of liquor in the national capital.

A Division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has asked the counsel appearing for Delhi Government to seek instructions in the matter and file a counter affidavit by the next date. The matter is fixed for September 17.

The petition has been filed by an NGO namely All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha. Advocate Vijay Sharma, appearing for the Petitioner, stated that under the new excise policy, the Delhi Government has reduced the minimum eligible age for sale/ delivery of liquor to any person for consumption, etc. to bring it in consonance with that of the neighboring states.

This, he argued, is not in public interest.

The minimum age for consumption of liquor in the national capital was reduced from 25 to 21, to bring it at par with the prescribed age in the neighboring State of UP.

"Reducing the age for consumption of liquor is going to increase alcoholism amongst the students and younger generation of the society," the plea states. It further highlights that the decision is contrary to Article 47 of the Constitution which prescribes that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks which are injurious to health.

Inter alia, the Petitioner has assailed Delhi Government's decision to not open government liquor stores for sale of IMFL/ foreign liquor. The plea states,

"consumers of the liquor are also going to be affected in as much as they are assured about the quality of the liquor when they purchase from the Govt. vends whereas the said assurance shall not be there in case of private vends."

GNCTD counsel SK Tripathi accepted notice.

Interestingly, in September 2019, the Delhi High Court had ruled that there is a "wrong notion" that the minimum prescribed age for drinking liquor is 25 years under the Delhi Excise Act which only prohibits its sale to people below that age.

"The age of drinking has nothing to do with the prohibition imposed by the Delhi government under the Excise Act. We see no reason to quash Section 23 of the Act which prohibits a licensee to sell or deliver liquor to a person of less than 25 years of age," a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and C Hari Shankar had said.

Case Title: All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha v. GNCTD

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