Alcohol laws of India

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The legal drinking age in India and the laws which regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol vary significantly from state to state.[1] In India, consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the states of Gujarat, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland,[2] as well as the union territory of Lakshadweep. All other Indian states permit alcohol consumption but fix a legal drinking age. In some states, the legal drinking age can be different for different types of alcoholic beverages.

Law[edit]

Alcohol is a subject in the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.[3][4][5] Therefore, the laws governing alcohol vary from state to state.

Liquor in India is generally sold at liquor stores, restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs, clubs and discos. Some states, like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, prohibit private parties from owning liquor stores making the state government the sole retailer of alcohol in those states. In some states, liquor may be sold at groceries, departmental stores, banquet halls and/or farm houses. Some tourist areas have special laws allowing the sale of alcohol on beaches and houseboats.

Delhi[edit]

Home delivery of alcoholic beverages is illegal in Delhi.[6] However, Delhi permits home delivery of beer and wine by private vends and departmental stores. The sale of beer at departmental stores, banquet halls and farm houses, is legal in Delhi.[6]

Legal drinking age[edit]

The following list is incomplete. Please help complete the list by providing references

State/ UT Drinking Age Remarks
Andaman and Nicobar Islands It is illegal to sell or supply any liquor to Andamanese, Nicobarese or any other Scheduled Tribes.
Andhra Pradesh 21 [7]
Arunachal Pradesh 21[8]
Assam 21
Bihar 21[7]
Chandigarh 25[9]
Chhattisgarh 21
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Daman and Diu
Delhi 25[10]
Goa 18[7]
Gujarat Illegal Non-Residents of Gujarat can apply for limited Liquor Permits.
Haryana 25 The Punjab Excise Act, which also extends to Haryana, prohibits establishments from employing "women in any part of such premises in which such liquor or intoxicating drug is consumed by the public".[11]
Himachal Pradesh 18[12]
Jammu and Kashmir 21[13][14]
Jharkhand 21
Karnataka 18[15] Arrack is banned in Karnataka since 1 July 2007.[16][17]
Kerala 21[18] Arrack is banned in Kerala since 1996.[19] Drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 in July 2011.
Lakshadweep Illegal Consumption is legal only on the island of Bangaram.[20]
Madhya Pradesh 21
Maharashtra No limit (wine)[21]
21 (beer)
25 (Other)[21]
In Maharashtra for drinking a person should carry a liquor license obtained from Govt.Civil Hospital. The drinking age is 30 years in Wardha district.[22]
Manipur Illegal
Meghalaya 25[23]
Mizoram Illegal Manufacture, sale and consumption of wine from guavas and grapes permitted. Manufactured wine cannot be transported out of Mizoram.[24]
Nagaland Illegal[2] Sale and consumption illegal since 1989.[24]
Orissa 21[7]
Puducherry 18
Punjab 25[25] The Punjab Excise Act prohibits establishments from employing "women in any part of such premises in which such liquor or intoxicating drug is consumed by the public".[11]
Rajasthan 21
Sikkim 18[8]
Tamil Nadu 21[7]
Telengana 21 [7]
Tripura 21
Uttar Pradesh 18[23]
Uttarakhand 21
West Bengal 21[23]

Drunk Driving Law[edit]

The blood alcohol content (BAC) limits are fixed at 0.03%[26] or 30 µl alcohol in 100 ml blood.[27] Any person whose BAC values are detected more than this limit is booked under the first offense. A person may be fined about INR 2000 and\or he or she may face a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

If a second offense is committed within 3 years of the first then a person may be fined about INR3000 and/or he or she may face a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. Despite such strict drink driving law, authorities acknowledge that many times they find it difficult to restrict and make the offenders to follow the law. The offenders tend to escape through bribery or by finding loop holes in the law.

On 1 March 2012, the Union Cabinet approved proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act. As per the new provisions, drunk driving would be dealt with higher penalty and jail terms - fines ranging from INR2,000 to INR10,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 4 years. Drink driving will be graded according to alcohol levels in the blood.

Giving details of the proposed fine on drunken driving, officials said in cases where alcohol level is less than 30 mg per 100 ml of blood, it would not amount to an offence. However, if it is between 30–60 mg per 100 ml of blood, the proposed penalty would be 6 months of imprisonment and/or INR2,000 fine. In case the alcohol level is 60–150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty would be one year imprisonment and/or INR4,000. If the offence is repeated within three years, the penalty would go up to 3 years imprisonment and/or INR8,000. For those who are found heavily drunk with alcohol levels of over 150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty will be 2 years imprisonment and or INR5,000. Repeat offence within a three-year period will attract a penalt years jail and fine of INR10,000 besides cancellation of licence.[28]

Advertisements[edit]

Advertising alcoholic beverages is banned in India as per the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, which came into effect on 8 September 2000. The government is very particular against broadcasting such advertisements on its channel, Doordarshan, whereas most of the private channels still broadcast surrogate alcohol advertisements.[26]

Dry Days[edit]

Dry Days are specific days when the sale of alcohol is banned. National holidays such as Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) are usually dry days throughout India.[29]

Most of the Indian states observe dry days on major religious festivals/occasions depending on the popularity of the festival in that region. Dry days may also depend on the establishment selling alcohol. For example, generally 5-star hotels do not have to observe all the dry days that smaller bars may have to. Dry Days are fixed by the respective state government. These dry days are observed to maintain peace and order during the festival days. Dry days are also observed on and around voting days.

Dry Days by State[edit]

Andaman and Nicobar Islands[edit]

Month Date/Festival
January 7, 26 (Republic Day), 30 (Martyrs' Day)
February 7
March 8, Holi
April 7, Good Friday
May 7
June 7
July 7
August 7, 15 (Independence Day)
September 7
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), 7, Dusshera
November 7
December 7

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Muharram
  • The last working day of a calendar month.
  • The day of poll and proceeding two days in all General elections, By-Elections to Lok Sabha, Municipal Board and Panchayat.
  • Any other day the Government may by notification declare to be a dry day.

Source: Andaman and Nicobar Excise Department

Andhra Pradesh[edit]

Month Date
January 26 (Republic Day)
August 15 (Independence Day)
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)

Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.

Source: Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Ltd.

Delhi[edit]

Every excise year, the Government of Delhi, notifies the number of dry days in a year. The three national holidays — January 26, October 2 and August 15, are always dry days but the other days may vary.

Month Date/Festival
January 26 (Republic Day)
February 12 (Maharishi Dayanand Jayanti), 16 (Guru Ravidas Jayanti, 24])
March Holi, Mahavir Jayanti
April Good Friday, Mahavir Jayanti
May 29 Buddha Purnima
June Buddha Purnima
August 15 (Independence Day), Krishna Janmashtami
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), Dussehra, Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti, Diwali
November Diwali, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Guru Tegh Bahadur Martydom Day

Festival date may be in either month.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

On dry days, sale and supply of liquor will be suspended meaning thereby all wholesalers will not make the supply of liquor and all the retail vendors will remain closed. However, service of liquor in licensed bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants is permissible even on dry days except on three national holidays. On the national holidays, even L-20 / L-49A licenses are not granted. These are special temporary licenses granted for service of liquor in parties/functions. These licenses may however, be granted on other dry days. Even on the three national holidays, liquor can be served by the hotels provided they have obtained L-3 license. L-3 licence allows hotels to serve liquor to the residents of their rooms.

There is no ban for service of liquor by anyone at his residence provided the liquor served is authorized and is within the permissible limits.

Source: Department of Excise, Entertainment and Luxury Tax

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Jammu[edit]

Month Date/Festival
August 15 (Independence Day), Krishna Janmashtami
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)
November Guru Nanak Jayanti

Festival date may be in either month.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Ram Navmi
  • Maha Shivratri
  • Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.
  • Dry days can also be declaered on such days not exceeding three days during a year as may be declared by the State Government

Kashmir[edit]

Month Date/Festival
August 15 (Independence Day), Krishna Janmashtami
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)

Festival date may be in either month.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Maha Shivratri
  • Eid ul-Fitr
  • Eid ul-Zuha
  • Eid-e-Milaad
  • Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.
  • Dry days can also be declared on such days not exceeding three days during a year as may be declared by the State Government

Source: THE JAMMU & KASHMIR LIQUOR LICENSE & SALE RULES, 1984

Kerala[edit]

Month Date
January 1, 30 (Martyrs' Day)
February 1
March 1
April 1
May 1
June 1
July 1
August 1, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti
September 1, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti, Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi
October 1, 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)
November 1
December 1

Date may be in either month.

In all areas where elections are being held, the day of polling and previous day will be declared dry days. During vote counting, the dry days will be notified by the local authority.

Source: Official web site of Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limited

Karnataka[edit]

Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) is the only dry day in Karnataka.[30]

Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.

Maharashtra[edit]

This list may vary depending on the date of festivals as well as specific dry day announcements by the Government of Maharashtra.

Month Date/Festival
January 26 (Republic Day), 30 (Martyrs' Day)
May 1 (Maharashtra Day)
June Ashadi Ekadashi
July Ashadi Ekadashi
August 15 (Independence Day)
September Anant Chaturdashi
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), 8 (End of Prohibition Week)
November Kartiki Ekadashi

Festival date may be in June or July.

Dry days also include the day or days on which polls in relation to any general election or by-election to the Lok Sabha or the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or any local authority in the state is taken in the constituency and two days immediately before such day of poll the day after poll,the day before the counting day or days on the counting day or day and the day immediately after counting.

On any day in any area the Collector may, after giving a notice of not less than seven days in the official Gazette and in any local newspaper having wide circulation in such area specify that day as a dry day.[31]

Source: Maharashtra State Excise

Rajasthan[edit]

Month Date/Festival
January 26 (Republic Day), 30 (Martyrs' Day)
March Mahavir Jayanti
April Mahavir Jayanti
August 15 (Independence Day), Krishna Janmashtami
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)

Festival date may be in either month.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Month Date/Festival
January Tiruvalluvar Day, Republic Day
March Mahavir Jayanti
April Mahavir Jayanti
May 1 (May Day)
August 15 (Independence Day)
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti)

Festival date may be in either month.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

Source: Tamil Nady dry day list - 2013 : Kosukadi

West Bengal[edit]

Month Date/Festival
January 26 (Republic Day)
March Second day of Holi
April Mahavir Jayanti
August 15 (Independence Day)
October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), Dusshera (Bijaya Dashami)

Festival date may be in March or April.
From 15 hours of the day

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • On the 9th and 10th day of Muharram
  • Eid ul-Fitr
  • Eid al-Adha
  • Second Day of Durga Puja (Maha Ashtami Day)
  • Dol Jatra
  • Kali Puja (From 15 hours of the day)
  • In all General or By-Elections to the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha, during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of the poll and during the day(s) of counting of votes within the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned constituency where polls are held.
  • In Election or By-Election to the Municipalityor Panchayat or Municipal Corporation or Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, on the day(s) of the poll and on the day immediate preceding the day of the poll and during the day(s) of counting of votes within the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned constituency where polls are held.

Source: Department of Excise, West Bengal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Minimum Age Limits Worldwide". International Center for Alcohol Policies. 
  2. ^ a b "Alcohol prohibition to remain in Nagaland". 
  3. ^ Constitution of India » 246. Subject-matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States
  4. ^ States Subject List
  5. ^ Schedule
  6. ^ a b "3 held for home delivery of liquor - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 22 August 2002. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Cheers! Orissa raises a toast to 21". The Times of India. 18 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Maharashtra's legal drinking age is highest in world". The Times of India. 24 June 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.drunkdriving.co.in/drunk-driving-law/legal-drinking-age-in-india.htm
  10. ^ "Drinking age in India". drinkingmap.com. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "The Punjab Excise Act, 1914", The Punjab Excise Act, 1914 (Government of Haryana), retrieved November 1, 2012 
  12. ^ Himachal bans selling liquor to minors | Voice of Himachal
  13. ^ http://jkexcise.nic.in/documents/eact.pdf
  14. ^ http://jkexcise.nic.in/documents/exc_rule.pdf
  15. ^ "Overview of Indian Nightlife". about.com. 20 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Arrack ban in Karnataka from tomorrow". The Times Of India. 30 June 2007. 
  17. ^ Siddu wants cheap, safe liquor for poor
  18. ^ Liquor policy aims to curb buying, selling - Indian Express
  19. ^ Arrack ban to stay in Kerala
  20. ^ Lakshadweep Official Website
  21. ^ a b "Maha ups drinking age to 25". Hindustan Times. 2 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Maharashtra's legal drinking age is highest in world". The Times Of India. 
  23. ^ a b c "Drink at 18 in Lucknow, 25 in Mumbai, 16 in Rome". IBN Live. 2 June 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "No Drink For You? India's Dry States". Full Stop India. 
  25. ^ Underage drinking: Punjab to take action against vendors - Indian Express
  26. ^ a b Alcohol Law in India | ifood.tv
  27. ^ http://mumbaimirror.com/article/15/2011122520111225033242577203a62aa/This-New-Year-pubs-to-face-police-action-if-patrons-drinkdrive.html
  28. ^ Manifold hike in penalties for traffic violations
  29. ^ Three cheers to dry days!
  30. ^ "Why must Delhi have dry days? - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  31. ^ Your dry day survival guide