Bihar Vidhan Sabha passes 'The Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2022'

Bihar Vidhan Sabha passes 'The Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2022'

Under the amendment, there is a provision for the first time offenders to get bail from the duty magistrate after depositing a fine. In case the offender is not able to deposit the fine, he/she is liable to face one month in jail.

Law Kumar MishraUpdated: Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 07:28 PM IST
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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar | Photo: PTI

The Bihar Legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed 'The Bihar Excise and Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2022' seeking to give relief to the first time offenders of the prohibition law and provide them immediate release.

Excise and prohibition minister Sunil Kumar, a former IPS officer who piloted the Bill in Bihar Assembly, said the amendment seeks to expedite trial under the Act and shift focus from persons consuming alcohol to the illegal suppliers and traders of liquor.

As per the newly passed Act, the first-time offenders will be released immediately on payment of a fine which will be decided by the government by the executive magistrate who would also have the powers of a judicial magistrate.

During such an offence, the Magistrate will hold a summary trial and the police would have to submit a final investigation report within 90 days.

In February 2022, Supreme Court while rejecting appeals filed by the Bihar government, had observed that trial courts and Patna High court are being crowded with only matters related to liquor prohibition.

Since 2018, when the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 was amended, 1.15 lakh cases are pending trial.

In the last three years itself, 1.27 lakhs people have been jailed under the Act. Nearly 40,000 on average are arrested in the state every year for violation of the prohibition law. Last year alone 47,000 people were arrested for the offence.

Under the amended law, special excise courts would be set up in all districts, the excise and prohibition minister said.

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