The Assam government is set to ban consumption of liquor in public places to curb the problem of nuisance caused by people in inebriated state.
Any person found indulging in such a practice will land up in jail as Dispur on the first day of the budget session of Assam Assembly on Tuesday tabled the Assam Excise (Amendments) Bill, 2017 with this purpose.
The amendment bill also proposes to make excise offences such as illegal storage of liquor, transport, labeling and sale non-bailable and to be tried by the court of law. The state cabinet had approved these amendments last December.
State excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya said the provisions for punishment for certain offences under the existing Assam Excise Act, 2000 were not adequate.
“Illicit liquor and non-duty paid liquor are not only serious threats to human life but do lot of damage to the state exchequer. We need some strict measures to curb such offences,” he said.
Under the proposed rules, consuming alcohol at public places will attract a fine of Rs 5,000 and if the offender creates a nuisance, the fine will be up to Rs 10,000 with a jail term of three months.
At present, drinking at public places is a bailable offence and the offender can be released on personal bond without any provision for fine.
Illegal stocking and transportation of liquor will become non-bailable offences with three years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2 lakh fine from current punishment of only six months imprisonment without any fine.
Consuming liquor inside private vehicles on many public roads, including the arterial GS Road during evening hours has become a regular phenomenon.
Even though the police sometimes launch a crackdown on those drinking in public, offenders are easily let off after they allegedly pay bribes to the cops.
“The police cannot take strict actions against such offenders as the existing law is not clear on punishment,” a police official said.