Plea in SC for nationwide ban on liquor [Governance]
- A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a nationwide prohibition of liquor as a “reasonable restriction” to uplift nutritional level and standard of living envisaged under Article 47 of the Constitution.
- The petition contended that the right to health is an integral part of the fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 and it is duty of the State to ban liquors, intoxicating drinks and drugs.
- Consumption of liquor, intoxicating drinks and drugs is the root cause of most of the road accidents, road rage, crime against women, domestic violence, rape and murder and many other social evils.
- The recent Supreme Court decision upholded Kerala’s new liquor policy to prohibit public drinking and curtail liquor sales.
- The petition said States should desist from the sale of liquor to earn revenue without a thought for how it results in the “degradation of human life”.
- The duty to improve public health, especially of poverty-stricken people, who are major consumers of liquor and other intoxicating drinks and drugs, and to protect them from its injurious effect, must be discharged by all the States.
- The Constitution’s framers in 1948 had envisioned that States would endeavour to bring about prohibition.
- Tracing illicit liquor-related tragedies, petition records the death of 308 people in Bengaluru, 104 in Mumbai in 2004, 180 in Bengaluru, Kolar and Krishnagiri in 2008 and 156 farmers in Sangrampur in 2011 after consuming toxic alcohol.
- Seeking a legislative intervention to expand the definition of ‘liquor’ to include all alcoholic substances that can be used as intoxicants, the petition pointed to States like Gujarat and Bihar which have already introduced prohibition.