In case of All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha v. GNCTD, a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice on a petition challenging the Delhi Excise Policy 2021 insofar as it reduces the minimum legal liquors consumption age in the national capital. Bench directed that the counsel for the Delhi Government obtain directions in the issue and file a counter-affidavit by the next date.
Now, the case will be held on September 17.
The petition was submitted by the All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha, an NGO. Advocate Vijay Sharma, standing on behalf of the Petitioner, claimed that under the new excise policy, the Delhi Government has decreased the minimum qualifying age for sale/delivery of liquor to any individual for consumption, etc. to bring it in line with surrounding states.
The legal consumption age in the national capital has been reduced from 25 to 21, bringing it in line with the legal consumption age in the adjoining state of Uttar Pradesh.
“Reducing the age for consumption of liquor is going to increase alcoholism amongst the students and younger generation of the society,” the petition claims. It further emphasises that the decision is in violation of Article 47 of the Constitution, which states that the State should make every effort to prevent the use of intoxicating drinks that are harmful to health, save for therapeutic grounds.
SK Tripathi, counsel for the GNCTD, accepted the notice.
Intriguingly, the Delhi High Court decided in September 2019 that there is a “wrong notion” that the minimum mandated age for drinking liquor is 25 years under the Delhi Excise Act, which merely bans its sale to persons under that age.
“The age of drinking has nothing to do with the prohibition imposed by the Delhi government under the Excise Act. We see no reason to quash Section 23 of the Act which prohibits a license to sell or deliver liquor to a person of less than 25 years of age,” bench noted.
Now, the matter will be heard on 17th September,2021