A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh adjourned the matter for September 17.
The court was hearing a fresh plea filed by Community against Drunken Driving through advocate Prasanna S. The petitioner has sought to restrain the Government of NCT of Delhi from giving effect to the recent Excise Policy, 2021-2022 which reduces the drinking age from 25 to 21 years until a robust age verification mechanism is instituted.
It also sought to restrain the Government of NCT of Delhi from giving effect to the recent amendment made in the Excise Rules 28, 2010, which permit the door delivery of liquor until a robust age verification mechanism is instituted even for door delivery.
"As the initiator of the campaign against drunken driving movement in 2001, I have often been outraged on several occasions during the last 21 years at how easily school and college students as young as 13-14 years can procure and consume alcohol. In 2017 we had filed a PIL in Delhi High Court seeking mandatory age check at alcohol points of sale as a result of which the Hon. HC had asked the Delhi Government to form a policy mandatory age check at alcohol points of sale. However, the government failed to take action even after several petitions and white papers submitted them on this issue, including documents submitted to the Chief Minister,” said Prince Singhal, Founder of Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD).
Earlier a similar plea was filed by NGO All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha through advocate Vijay Sharma. According to the petitioner, the new excise policy lowers the minimum age for consumption of alcohol to 21 years, which was, earlier, 25 years.
According to the petition, the petitioner is working in the society at the grass-roots level and there is an opinion among a lot of people that reducing the age for consumption of liquor is going to increase alcoholism amongst the students and younger generation of the society and the closure of the Government vends is a decision, which is not in the public interest as explained in detail in the subsequent paragraphs.
The petitioner said that he has filed the present Petition for the benefit of the common people of the city of Delhi as the increase of alcoholism amongst the students and the younger generation in the society will lead to all the consequent problems arising therefrom. Article 47 of The Constitution of India states that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks, which are injurious to health.
"Further the common people who are the consumers of the liquor are also going to be affected in as much as they are assured about the quality of the liquor when they purchase from the Government vends whereas the said assurance shall not be there in case of private vends," the petitioner said.
"Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ (s), order(s) or direction to the Respondent to quash/ strike off/drop the clause/provision in the Excise Policy 2021-22, which seeks to reduce the age for consumption of liquor in consonance with that of neighbouring states, " read the petition.
The petition has sought to issue direction to the respondent to strike the clause in the Excise Policy 2021-22, which states that there shall be no Government-owned liquor vends for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) & Foreign Liquor (FL) and which provides for only privately owned vends for sale of IMFL & FL. (ANI)