New Delhi, Oct 5 : In an effort to curb people guzzling liquor in public places in Delhi, the Delhi government has brought into force the Delhi Excise Act, which provides for a regime of more stringent punishment for all liquor-related offences.
Consuming alcohol at public places will attract a fine of Rs 5,000 instead of current Rs 200 and if the offender creates nuisance than the fine will be upto Rs 10,000 with a jail term of three months.
The legislation, which was passed by Delhi Assembly late last year, replaces the Punjab Excise Act 1914, provision of which was extended to Delhi in 1939.
Announcing that the legislation has come into force from Monday, Finance Minister A K Walia said Delhi has become the first state to enact its own Excise Act as per the model excise act suggested by the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries. The legislation has been brought with an aim to come down hard on those involved in trade of spurious and adulterated liquor and smuggling of liquor.
As per the legislation, if any person, after having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under the new Act, subsequently commits any offence and is convicted, then he will get double the punishment provided for the first conviction.
Walia said all offences punishable under the Act with imprisonment of two years and more shall be non-bailable and the provisions of the code of criminal procedures with respect to non-bailable offence will apply to those offences.
The Minister said as per the new legislation, sale of liquor is not permitted near religious places and schools. Hence, it has extended the prohibited area limit from 75 metres to 100 metres for such places.
He said officials from excise department will be able to arrest those involved in liquor related offences. Earlier, the department used to provide inputs to police to take action against the offenders. "However, police will carry out the investigations," Walia added.
The Act also provides for very strict punishment for those involved in mixing noxious drug or ingredient in liquor.
If as a result of such an act death is caused, then the offender may face death sentence or life imprisonment along with a penalty of upto Rs 10 lakh. The legislation says if someone is grievously hurt as a result of such act, then the offender may face imprisonment of not less than six years which could be extended to life imprisonment.
In case if any other injury, imprisonment of up to one year and fine up to Rs 2.50 lakh has been proposed.
If somebody is found keeping imported liquor unlawfully or without paying the duty, then the offender may face imprisonment up to six months and fine of up to Rs one lakh.
In case of unlawful import, export, manufacture, transport, possession and sale, the earlier Act had provision of imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs 2,000 whereas the new Act provides for imprisonment between six months to three years and fine of up to Rs one lakh.
In case of offences relating to selling de-natured spirit not fit for human consumption, the new Act provides for imprisonment between two to five years and a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh. As per the earlier Act, the offenders were liable for imprisonment up to one year and fine up to Rs 1,000.
Walia added that the city government is very much concerned about consumption of liquor in public places. Hence, it was decided to extend punishment in such cases.
In the earlier Act only Rs 200 was being levied for such offences whereas in the new Act consumption of liquor in public place will attract fine up to Rs 5,000.
Consumption of liquor in public place and creating nuisance will attract fine up to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment up to three months.
Walia said the fine mentioned in the earlier Act for employing minors or selling liquor to minors was only Rs 500 whereas the new Act provides for imprisonment up to three months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
He further stated that age for serving liquor has been reduced from 25 years to 21 years. However, minimum age for consumption of liquor has been kept at 25.
The Minister said certain new provisions have also been incorporated to give more teeth to the Act. PTI