Supreme Court Pulls Up Punjab Government For Failure To Curb Illicit Liquor Trade In The Border State

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 5, 2022 04:21 PM +05:30 IST
Supreme Court Pulls Up Punjab Government For Failure To Curb Illicit Liquor Trade In The Border StatePunjab CM Bhagwant Mann (left) and Arvind Kejriwal (right)

The Supreme Court (SC) came heavily upon the Punjab government for its failure to control the rampant manufacturing and sale of illegal liquor in the state.

Expressing concern, the SC underlined the importance of putting an end to illegal liquor and drug trade in a border state like Punjab. The SC bench said that if a nation needs to be finished, the starting point would be border areas.

The two-judge bench, comprising Justices M R Shah and M M Sundresh, were dissatisfied by the ongoing investigation.

During the previous hearing on 22 November 2022, the court had observed that no serious efforts seem to have been made to reach out to the real culprits in the business of manufacture and transportation of illegal liquors. It added that cancelling the licences and/or recovery of penalties/duties is not sufficient.

Out of the 13 First Information Reports (FIRs) filed, only in three cases, the challans were reported to be filed, while in the remaining cases, the investigation is still ongoing.

The court today held another hearing in the case, where the respondents were supposed to file a detailed counter affidavit or status report.

In today's hearing, the court, once again, pulled up the state government for only filing FIR, but not taking any action against those behind the illegal trade.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Punjab government had not been able to provide the list of steps it has taken to curb the menace. In fact, the party came to power at the back of the poll promise to pull Punjab out of the illegal liquor and drug crisis that has destroyed families.

In Delhi too, where AAP has been in power for 8 years, it faced severe backlash for its new excise policy.

The government in Delhi withdrew its policy immediately after a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry was called to look into the role of private entities, close to the AAP leaders, in formulation of the liquor policy.

It led to heavy loss to the exchequer, cartelisation and rapid increase in the number of liquor shops in the capital selling cheap alcohol.

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