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 Bihar, Gujarat, Nagaland,[2] and Mizoram, as well as the union territory of Lakshadweep. There is partial ban on alcohol in some districts of Manipur.[3] All other Indian states permit alcohol consumption but fix a legal drinking age, which ranges at different ages per region. In some states the legal drinking age can be different for different types of alcoholic beverage.

In spite of legal restrictions, alcohol consumption in India has risen over 72.5% over a period of 20 years (according to OECD figures) as the laws are generally not followed in a customer business relationship.[4][5] The maximum permitted ABV is 45.5%.[6]

Law[edit]

Alcohol is a subject in the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.[7][8][9] 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 but not online. 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.[citation needed]

Home delivery of alcoholic beverages is illegal in Delhi.[10] However, in Delhi home delivery of beer and wine by private vendors and departmental stores is permitted.[citation needed]

Legal drinking age by states and union territories[edit]

State/UT Drinking Age Remarks
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 21[11]
Andhra Pradesh 21[11]
Arunachal Pradesh 21[11]
Assam 21[11]
Bihar Illegal Total ban on all alcohol since 4 April 2016[12]
Chandigarh 25[13]
Chhattisgarh 21[11]
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 21[14]
Daman and Diu 21[15]
Delhi 21[16]
Goa 18[17]
Gujarat Illegal Non-Residents of Gujarat can apply for limited Liquor Permits. Banned since 1960.[18]
Haryana 21[11] 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".[19] Section 30 of the Punjab Excise Act has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India on 12 December 2007, which was responsible for not allowing women to work in such premises.[20]
Himachal Pradesh 18[21]
Jammu and Kashmir 18[22][23]
Jharkhand 21[11][24][25]
Karnataka 18 Arrack has been banned in Karnataka since 1 July 2007.[26][27] The Karanataka Excise Department, 1967, stipulate that drinking age is 21. However, the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965, states 18 as the minimum age to purchase alcohol. The law is ambiguous and in practise many bars serve those above age 18 though a few bars refuse service to anyone below 21.[28][29]
Kerala 23[30] Kerala government has planned to implement prohibition of hard liquor in 10 years.[31][3]
Ladakh 18[22][23]
Lakshadweep Illegal[11] Consumption is legal only on the resort island of Bangaram.[32]
Madhya Pradesh 21[33]
Maharashtra 21[34] In Maharashtra, a liquor licence obtained from a Government Civil Hospital is required to drink, although this is largely not enforced. Additionally, state legislature empowers district governments to ban alcohol entirely. As a result, two districts, Wardha and Gadchiroli have imposed a total ban on the production and sale of alcohol.
Manipur 21[11] Partial prohibition since 2002, prohibited in the districts of Bishnupur, Imphal East, Imphal West and Thoubal[35]
Meghalaya 21[36]
Mizoram Illegal[37] Banned since 2019[38]
Nagaland Illegal[2] Sale and consumption illegal since 1989.[39]
Odisha 21[11]
Punjab 25[40] 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".[19] Section 30 of the Punjab Excise Act has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India on 12 December 2007, which was responsible for not allowing women to work in such premises.[20]
Rajasthan 18[41]
Sikkim 18[42]
Tamil Nadu 21[11]
Telangana 21[11]
Tripura 21[43]
Uttar Pradesh 21[44] Section 22 [44]
Uttarakhand 21[11]
West Bengal 21[45]

Drunk driving law[edit]

The blood alcohol content (BAC) legal limit is 0.03%[46] or 0.03 mg alcohol in 100 ml blood.[47]

On 1 March 2012, the Union Cabinet approved proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act. Higher penalties were introduced, including fines from 2,000 to 10,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 4 years. Different penalties are assessed depending on the blood alcohol content at the time of the offence.[48]

Dry days[edit]

Dry days are specific days when the sale of alcohol is not permitted. Most of the Indian states observe these days on major national festivals/occasions such as Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October).[49] Dry days are also observed during elections in India.[50][51]

Dry days by states and union territories[edit]

No dry day rule is applicable for 5-star hotels, clubs and resorts in West Bengal. Drinks may be served and consumed in those places in West Bengal even on "dry days". Private consumption too is allowed on the said "dry days". Only the open sale of liquor at restaurants, liquor shops and other permitted places is disallowed on those days.

Prohibited days are also announced when elections are held in the state.[52][53] For Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections, Prohibited days are declared for 48 hours prior to the close of voting, plus during the counting day(s). For Municipality, Panchayat, Municipal Corporation, or Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council elections, Prohibited days occur on the polling day, the previous day and the counting day(s).[54]

Andaman and Nicobar Islands[edit]

Retail shops are closed on every month on the 7th, which is the pay day / salary day in this union territory, and on 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of every month. Plus, a maximum of two fulls or four beers are permitted per person for sale in retail shops.

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

Delhi[edit]

Every excise year, the Government of Delhi, notifies the number of Prohibited days in a year. The three national holidays—26 January 2 October and 15 August, are always prohibited days, and additional prohibited days are announced at the start of the excise year (1 July).[55]

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

Festival date may be in either month.

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Jammu
Month Date Festival
March 4 Maha Shivratri
April Ram Navami
August 15 Krishna Janmashtami
August 15 Independence Day
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
November Guru Nanak Jayanti

Festival date may be in either month.

Kashmir
Month Date Festival
March 4 Maha Shivratri
June 4–5 Eid-Ul-Fitr
August 11 Eid al-Adha (Bakrid)
August 15 Independence Day
August Krishna Janmashtami
September Krishna Janmashtami
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
November 9–10 Eid-Ul-Milad

Festival date may be in either month.

Karnataka[edit]

Month Date Festival
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
January 26 Republic Day
September 6 Nandwani Jayanti

Kerala[edit]

Sundays are no longer observed as Prohibited days in the state.[56][50]

1st Day of English Calendar Every month for administrative purposes and on the grounds that it is the salary day. Dry days are observed on the day of polling and the previous day during elections as well.

Month Date Festival
January 1 New Year Day
January 26 Republic Day
August Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti
August 15 Independence Day
September Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi
September Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti

Date may be in either month.

Maharashtra[edit]

The district collector can also designate any day as a Prohibited day by giving seven days' notice.[57] his list may vary depending on the date of festivals as well as specific Prohibited day announcements by the Government of Maharashtra.

Month Date Festival
January 26 Republic Day
January 30 Martyrs' Day
May 1 Maharashtra Day
June or July Ashadi Ekadashi
August 15 Independence Day
September Anant Chaturdashi
October 2-9 Gandhi Week
November Kartiki Ekadashi

Festival date may be in June or July.

Rajasthan[edit]

Month Date Festival
January 26 Republic Day
January 30 Martyrs' Day
February Maha Shivaratri
March Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
March 30 Rajasthan Formation Day
April Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
August 15 Independence Day
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
October 30 Harijan Day

Festival date may be in either month.

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Month Date Festival
January 15 or 16 Thiruvalluvar Day
January 26 Republic Day
January (February) Vadalur Ramalinga Adikalar Jothi
February Maha Shivaratri
April Prophet Mohamad's Birthday (Nabigal Nayagam)
April (March) Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
May 1 May Day
August 15 Independence Day
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
December Eid al-Mawlid (Milad-un-Nabi)

Leap year)(will vary based on Tamil calendar.

West Bengal[edit]

Month Date Festival
January 15 Makar Sankranti
January 26 Republic Day
March 4 Maha Shivratri
March 10 Holi
April 14 Ram Navami
April 17 Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
May 01 Maharashtra Day
June 2 Formation Day (Telangana)
June 4–5 Eid-Ul-Fitr)
August 11 Eid al-Adha (Bakrid)
August 15 Independence Day
August 15 Raksha Bhandan
August 24 Janmashtami
September 2 Ganesh Chaturthi
September 28 Muharram
October 2 Gandhi Jayanti
October 8 Dussehra
October 27 Diwali
November 9–10 Eid-Ul-Milad
December 25 Christmas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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