Liquor Ban has been a long controversial topic in India. The first state to implement it was Gujarat. Presently the states of Gujarat, Nagaland and Bihar have banned it.
Bihar’s liquor ban came into effect in April 2016 when the state’s government introduced the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act which prohibited the sale and consumption of any alcohol. The law was quashed by the Bihar High Court on the grounds that it was an illegal and unconstitutional act. Days after the rejection by the Bihar HC, the government implemented an even more stringent law in October 2016. The HC sought again to strike down the law but was thwarted by the Supreme Court this time who took the matter into their own hands. As of now, the ban still stands.
The logic behind the government’s liquor ban was to cater to the downtrodden, abused rural females who were abused domestically due to alcoholism in their family. The implementation of the law has been very strict, but has it been successful? The liquor ban might have decreased some problems for the rural ladies in Bihar, but has increased other major problems in the state. Due to the liquor ban, the illegal smuggling of liquor from the Nepal border and other nearby state borders has increased. People are getting alcohol at hiked prices due to which they even go for low-quality alcohol and are facing grave health issues. Also, they are now turning to cheaper alternatives as well, like substance abuse. Reports say that substance abuse has gone up substantially since the ban.
The ban was always going to face implementation issues. Gujarat, an arguably better-managed state has been unable to stem the flow of illegal liquor in the state for years. Many police officers themselves have been involved in the smuggling with them getting financial boosts due to such situations. No doubt, the ban is a firm and bold step by the Bihar CM and stringent measures have resulted in scores of people getting arrested and fined. But, the machinery itself is faulty, no matter how noble the cause is.