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Nitish says don’t come to Bihar if you want to drink, CJI questions ban’s wisdom

Nitish Kumar also sought to cite World Health Organisation (WHO) data in favour of his ban, noting 27 per cent of all road accidents take place

IANS | New Delhi |

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asked people of the country to avoid coming to the state if they wished to consume liquor, even as Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana referred to the state’s prohibition move as “short-sighted”.

Nitish Kumar made his statement made during the third programme of his Social Reforms Campaign in Sasaram. He had started the drive from Motihari and then went to Gopalganj.

Addressing the gathering in a newly-built stadium in Fazajganj area of Sasaram, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi who had said that consuming liquor does not result in money loss only, but also makes a people mentally corrupt.

“Bapu said that if he become a dictator for an hour, he would shut all liquor operations in the country.

“We cannot allow anyone to drink liquor in the state. If you wish to come here to drink liquor, I would suggest that please do not come here,” he said.

Nitish Kumar also sought to cite World Health Organisation (WHO) data in favour of his ban, noting 27 per cent of all road accidents take place as drivers are in an inebriated condition.

“If you want to live a long life, you should avoid liquor,” he said.

Nitish Kumar earlier said that liquor ban in Bihar cannot withdrawn at any cost, and threatened those who challenge it or give statements in public should be liable to face legal action as per the laws.

On the other hand, CJI Ramana declared that the liquor ban of Bihar a “shortsighted decision” of the Nitish Kumar government.

Participating in a discussion on the futuristic challenges to the Indian judiciary at the Sidhartha Law College in Vijaywada, he pointed out that every policies need to address futuristic planning, evaluation and constitutionality before its implementation on ground.

“The liquor ban decision of Nitish Kumar government in 2016 has left a large number of cases pending in the courts. Even hearings for bail in simple cases are taking one year time in the courts.

“The applications pertaining to bails in liquor prohibition act are submitted in large numbers in the high court. Due to short-sighted policies implemented by different governments, it is affecting the works of courts in the country. Every law need to be discuss thoroughly and with solid points before implementation,” the CJI said.

Earlier, the Patna High Court has also made strong remarks on the liquor ban and large number of bail applications filed before it. While it has set up a special court in every district for the hearing of bail pertaining to persons booked under liquor violations, the accused are filing bail pleas in large numbers before the high court after their pleas are rejected by the special courts.

At present, 11,000 people were arrested on the charges of violating liquor prohibition law in Bihar, and they form a majority of the prison populations. For example, the Beur Central jail in Patna has a capacity of 5,500 and 2,100 of them are behind bars on the charge of liquor violation.

As per data, over 50,000 people were sent to jail in first 8 months of 2021 in Bihar for violating the liquor ban.