Despite opposition from several party leaders, the Bihar government is all set to introduce the much-debated the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on Monday (August 1). In March, Bihar government had passed the new excise policy following which prohibition was imposed in the state from April 1 onwards.
However, there were few lacunae which were found in the last four months which prompted the government to further strengthen the law. In order to make the law stronger, new provisions have been incorporated in the new Bill. The Excise Policy of 1915 is also being repealed.
In the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2016 where there are some contentious provisions incorporated. One of the key provisions in the amendment Bill is that if a person is found possessing or consuming liquor at his house, all the other members of the house who are above the age of 18 will be arrested and sent to jail.
Now, there is massive resentment being seen over the inclusion of this contentious provision in the new Bill to the extent that even the Bihar Excise Minister Abdul Zalil Mastan whose department drafted the entire amendment Bill believes that some of the provisions are wrong. In fact the Bihar cabinet last Tuesday had passed the draft Bill. The admission by the Excise Minister comes as a major embarrassment to Nitish Kumar who is trying hard to give more teeth to the existing law.
"I am not in agreement with the provision that one person commits crime and the entire adult members of the family go to jail. Why should others go to jail?" said Mastan.
The alliance partner in the Mahagathbandhan government, Congress, too has maintained that the amendments being brought in Excise law was impractical.
"Sending all the family members of the house to jail does not look practical," said Congress MLA Ajit Sharma.