HC notice to Delhi on plea against policy lowering drinking age

HC notice to Delhi on plea against policy lowering drinking age

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Delhi government’s response to a plea challenging a provision in the new Excise policy, reducing the age of consumption of liquor from 25 to 21.

The plea filed by NGO All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha contended that reducing the age of consumption of liquor will increase alcoholism amongst students and younger generation of the society, and may lead to other consequent problems. It also said that the decision to close government vends is not in public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Jyoti Singh issued notice and asked the Delhi government to submit its response to the petition.

The plea argued the new policy states that “the age of selling or serving liquor should be in consonance with that of the neighbouring states”. It also contended that the provision, stating there shall be only privately-owned vends for selling alcohol, should be quashed.

The court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on September 17.

Presently, the minimum age of consumption of liquor in Delhi is 25 years, while it is 25 and 21 in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.

Counsel, representing the NGO, claimed the Delhi government is effectively seeking to reduce the minimum age of consumption of liquor from 25 to 21 years, similar to the policy in Uttar Pradesh.

Several petitions have been filed in the high court challenging the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 alleging that it was illegal, unfair, arbitrary, and violative of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009.

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