Bombay High Court Upholds Woman Bootlegger’s Detention

Bombay High Court Upholds Woman Bootlegger’s Detention

The court, while relying on the statements of witnesses, said that the bootlegger had created a “reign of terror” in the minds of common people.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, July 11, 2024, 01:56 AM IST
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The Bombay High Court has upheld detention of a woman bootlegger observing that she has been regularly indulging in production and sale of country-made liquor. The court noted that a society in which the earning member of the family is addicted, would naturally suffer economically and socially.

The court held that the Detaining Authority, in the instant case, rightly formed its opinion that the activities of petitioner Saraswati Rathod were prejudicial to maintenance of public order. 

“The Detaining Authority was subjectively satisfied that the petitioner is a bootlegger and have been regularly indulging in production and sale of country-made liquor, her activities resulting in causing and calculated to cause widespread danger to life and health of people in the vicinity, as many persons have been addicted to drinking illicit country-made liquor sold by her,” a bench of Justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande said on June 30.

It further added, “A Society in which the earning members of the families are addicted, naturally suffer financially, socially and otherwise and such business of manufacturing country-made liquor and supply it to the people at large and making them addicted, definitely prejudicially, affects the maintenance of public order.”

The court, while relying on the statements of witnesses, said that she had created a “reign of terror” in the minds of common people. The witnesses said that Rathod threatened  and thrashed persons who complained against her illicit liquor business. Hence, people were coming forward to lodge any complaint. 

“The act of the detenu (Rathod) as per the statement of the witnesses that she created a reign of terror in the minds of common people and in light of the aforesaid circumstances, we are of the firm view that the order of detention asked by the Commissioner of Police, Pune do not warrant any interference… (petition is) dismissed,” the judges added. 

The HC was hearing a petition by Rathod challenging the detention order passed against her on September 1, 2023. The Detaining Authority had ordered her detention under the relevant provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention Of Dangerous Activities Of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Dangerous Persons And Video Pirates Act, 1981. The detaining authority cited several cases lodged against Rathod and relied on the most recent one registered under the Maharashtra Prohibition Act in April 2023. 

Moreover, it was proved that the illicit liquor manufactured by Rathod contained 24% Ethyl Alcohol. The court noted that the DA relied on a report that highlighted the ill-effects of consumption of Ethyl Alcohol and Methyl Alcohol on the human body. “The ill-effects of consumption of Ethyl Alcohol are well known and it need not be established, particularly as to what would be the impact of consumption of this particular substance, which contain Ethyl Alcohol,” the bench added while rejecting Rathod’s plea against detention. 

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