Himachal bans selling liquor to minors

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By: ML Verma

Shimla (Dec 21): Employing minors or selling liquor to minors would now invite punishment and penalty in Himachal Pradesh as the state government cleared the Himachal Pradesh Excise Bill 2011, having such provisions.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the portfolio of finance minister, today tabled a fresh version of ‘Himachal Pradesh Excise Bill 2011’ in the House, a modified version of Punjab Excise Act 1914, which was applicable in the state so far.

State government had tried to bring similar legislation earlier too, namely HP Excise Bill 2009, but it was withdrawn on the advise of the government of India seeking prohibiting minors being employed in the liquor industry.

The clause 26(1) of ‘Himachal Pradesh Excise Bill 2011’ incorporates prohibition of sale of liquor to minor or his employment, mentioning “If any license holders or any person acting on his behalf sells or delivers any liquor to any persons apparently under the age of 18 years, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 but shall not be less than Rs 2000.”

Clause 26(2) of this bill also mentioned that if a license holder or any person acting on his behalf employs in a liquor vend or bar or any other place where liquor or other intoxicants are sold or stored or served, any person under the age of 18 years, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for term which may extended up to three months and with fine which may extend to Rs 50,000 or with both. Clause 59 has provision of penalty for any excise officer making vexatious search, seizure, detention or arrest.

State assembly cleared six bills after short discussions in the house which include HP Registration of Societies (amendment) Bill 2011, Punjab Excise (Himachal Pradesh Amendment) Bill 2011, HP Advocate Welfare Fund(amendment) Bill, 2011, HP Nagar Palika Service (amendment) bill 2011, HP Municipal (2nd Amendment) bill 2011 and HP Public Premises and Land (eviction and rent recovery) Amendment Bill 2011.