Prohibition Policy of Gujarat requires change

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Respected Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani and Minister of State (Prohibition and Excise) Shri Pradipsinh Jadeja,

This Petition is created to assert an opinion against the Prohibition Policy in the State of Gujarat. To put forward the reasons why it needs to be amended and to generate awareness and create a constructive dialogue regarding the same.

Current Policy: Purchase, Sale, Possession and Consumption of alcohol is a CRIME. Punishment for violation may extend to 10 years of Jail and fine up to Rs. 5 lakhs. Permit to purchase alcohol is issued to foreigners and non-gujarati Indians. A gujarati can obtain permit only on grounds of ill-health and it is widely known for misuse and corruption.

Change wanted: 1. Every adult (25 years+) be allowed to purchase alcohol from EXISTING LIQUOR SHOPS that currently sell alcohol to only permit holders. 2. Consumption of alcohol in PRIVATE be decriminalized. Such policy will be in line with the rest of the country. 3. This Petition DOES NOT seek opening of bars and pubs and free-flow of alcohol in public places.

There are three LEGAL REASONS why the prohibition is wrong and the desired change should be effected.

  1. Alcoholic beverage is a food for human consumption. Every person has a fundamental right to food and fundamental right to choice of food (especially where no animals are hurt). An adult has a right to decide for him/her self whether to consume alcohol or not and the state cannot dictate dietary preferences. State may limit the quantity allowed to be purchased to keep a check over excessive drinking but an absolute ban is wrong.
  2. Crime is committed when someone is hurt. In absence of victim, there cannot be a criminal. When a person drinks alcohol at home that itself does not harm anyone. Under the current policy, there is no victim but law declares a criminal! Criminalizing the very act of drinking and raiding private houses and punishing people at large needs immediate change. There are laws adequately in place to punish possible nuisance that a drunkard may create but to presume that every person who drinks will necessarily be a nuisance to society at large and therefore to ban the alcohol is wrong.
  3. To allow foreigners and non-Gujarati to purchase and consume alcohol while punishing gujarati to do the same is discriminatory. It shows that our own government trusts other people to be more law-abiding after drinking and does not trust Gujaratis equally.

There are five PRACTICAL REASONS why the prohibition is bad and the desired change should be effected.

  1. Prohibition of good quality alcohol invariably leads to people secretly producing bad quality hooch that results in death of hundreds.(read more) If good quality alcohol is available, no one will make hooch.
  2. Prohibition has led to rampant corruption within and outside the government machinery. (read more) If alcohol is allowed to be purchased, the corruption will reduce drastically.
  3. The Government of Gujarat loses revenue of more than 9000 crores every year! (read here and here) Such revenue can be put to a lot of developmental work.
  4. Prohibition is only a facade, in reality alcohol is easily available. Legally to tourists and people of armed forces and illegally via bootleggers to those that can afford. (read here) If alcohol is allowed to be purchased by all, bootlegging will end immediately. 
  5. Many private gatherings are raided by police and that has caused severe harassment to the peaceful and harmless people (read here)

It is therefore requested that the law may be amended so as to

1. Allow every adult (25 years+) to purchase alcohol from shops that currently sell alcohol to only permit holders.

2. Consumption of alcohol in private be decriminalized.

Thank you for your time

Yours Truly

 A resident of Gujarat

More: Send the above petition in E-mail to the concerned MLA/Minister on mos-legal@gujarat.gov.in Tell them what you want. MLAs are YOUR representatives. It is their JOB to hear what YOU want and DO accordingly. Let our collective voices be heard and make the democracy real.

Also, read up more about the issue (google) and become more aware about the complex issue of liquor policy. A great way to start is to read here a brilliant article by Kripa Ananthpur originally published in Economic and Political weekly.