Liquor and Alcohol Drinking laws in India | Age, Punishment for Public Drinking

हिंदी में पढ़ें
October 21, 2017
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Did you know there are 13 essential minerals for the human body and all can be found in the liquor? However, you must also know that in India alcohol is the cause behind thousands of deaths.

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In India, there is no uniformity with respect to liquor laws and it varies from one State to another, be it the legal drinking age or the laws which regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. These variations in the prices and laws revolving around alcohol are due to the inclusion of the subject of alcohol in the State list which comes under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The drinking laws also list down the places where alcohol can be sold in the States. Where in some States, liquor may be sold at groceries, departmental stores, banquet halls and/or farm houses, some tourist areas having special laws allow the sale of alcohol on beaches and houseboats. Some States even ban the sale of liquor in its entirety. 
 

Drinking and Driving Law

According to Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, if a person attempts to drive or drives a motor vehicle in a drunken state and if found with Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) exceeding 30 mg of intake per 100 ml of blood detected with the help of a Breath-analyser, then that person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both. This law is also applicable for other drugs apart from alcohol under the influence of which the person is incapable of exercising proper control over the vehicle.

Further, if the offence of drinking and driving is repeated by the offender within three years of the commission of the previous similar offence, then the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to three thousand rupees, or with both.

Moreover, negligent and rash driving (which includes driving under the influence of alcohol) is a criminal offence and punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 279)

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India
 

Public Drinking

Drinking in public creates nuisance and is therefore punishable by the law. Public drinking may not be a common site in India; however, car-o-bar has become a simpler way to drink for youngsters.

Consuming alcohol at public places will attract a fine of Rs 5,000 and if the offender creates nuisance than the fine shall be up to Rs 10,000 with a jail term of three months.
 

Dry Days

There are some days specifically when the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October) are usually dry days throughout India as they are considered as the National Holidays so every state is bound to celebrate that day as a DRY DAY. Other than these, there are a few more days that are observed as dry days but are specific to the States at large depending on their occasions and events. For example- the States which hold elections observe dry day during polling. However, different States of India also have different Dry days, dependning upon a cultural/State celebration or festival.

For example, in Maharashtra, Ram Navmi, Holi, Id-Ul-Fitr, Ganesh Chaturthi, Raksha Bandhan, Christman, etc. are dry days. In Delhi, Maha Shrivratri, Buddha Purnima, Dussehra, Diwali, Guru Nanak Jayanti, etc. are dry days. 

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Dry States in India

The following is the list of the states which are known as the “DRY STATES” where there is prohibition 

GUJARAT- The sale and consumption of liquor has been banned in the State since 1960. Only the non-residents of Gujarat can apply for limited Liquor Permits.

BIHAR- A total ban on alcohol was introduced in the State from April 4, 2016.

NAGALAND- The sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned since 1989.

MANIPUR – Partial prohibition of alcohol has been observed in the State since 2002.

LAKSHADWEEP- Consumption of liquor is only permitted in the island of Bangaram.
 

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India

 

Legal Age For Purchase and Drinking of Alcohol

The Constitution of India under Article 47 has empowered each state to bring out prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health, except for medicinal purpose. Each State has enacted different laws for liquor consumption and/or purchase, where some have completely banned it, others have enforced prohibition upto certain age limit.  

The permitted age prescribed by the law for consumption and purchasing of alcohol is different in each State. It is pertinent to note that there is also a difference in the legal age to purchase and the legal age to consume alcohol within a State. In a lot of States it is assumed that both the permitted ages are the same, however there exists a difference. In most states, if you're an adult you are eligible to buy liquor, however to be able to consume the same the permitted age differs from 18 years to 25 years.

Here is a list of the minimum drinking age in different states-

State/Union Territory Age limit
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 21
Andhra Pradesh 21
Arunachal Pradesh 21
Assam 25
Bihar Illegal (Total ban)
Chandigarh 25
Chhattisgarh 21
Daman and Diu 25
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 25
Delhi 25
Goa 18
Gujarat Illegal (Total ban)
Haryana 25
Himachal Pradesh 18
Jammu and Kashmir 18
Jharkhand 21
Karnataka 21
Kerala 23
Lakshadweep Illegal (except island of Bangaram)
Madhya Pradesh 21
Maharashtra 18 for Wine
21 for Beer
25 for Others
Manipur Illegal (Partial ban)
Meghalaya 21
Mizoram 21
Nagaland Illegal
Odisha 21
Puducherry 18
Punjab 25
Rajasthan 18
Sikkim 18
Tamil Nadu 21
Telangana 21
Tripura 21
Uttar Pradesh 21
Uttarakhand 21
West Bengal 21

How can a lawyer help you?

Sometimes the law and the legal framework can get confusing and difficult to understand, especially when the issue is regarding a matter governed by different State laws. In such a scenario, one may not realize how to determine the legal issue, the area to which the issue relates to, whether the issue requires going to court and, how the court procedure works. Seeing a lawyer and getting some legal advice can enable you to comprehend your choices and can give you the certainty to enable you to determine your legal recourse if need be. An experienced attorney can give you expert advice on how to handle your issue owing to his years of experience in handling such cases. A good criminal lawyer is an expert on the laws and can help you avoid significant mistakes that may cause financial harm or will require future legal proceedings to correct. 



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


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