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Q. Liquor ban in Uttarakhand: Comment on recent order of liquor ban by Uttarakhand High Court.
Dec 14, 2016 Related to : GS paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently Uttarakhand High Court has banned the sale and consumption of liquor in three districts Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi of Uttarakhand State from April 2017. It has also banned tobacco products within a five-km radius of three gurdwaras.

Issue-

Many observers arguing that, by banning liquor the judiciary has crossed its legal remit by extending a government policy of prohibiting liquor outlets in the vicinity of places of worship. They are feeling that the Uttarakhand High Court has drifted outside the confines of law and entered the domain of morals and desired behaviour. 

Analysis-

  • According to critics, the court has assumed the power to make regulations on its own even after observing that the State government has taken laudable measures to prohibit the sale of liquor in specified areas.
  • But according to Article 47 of the constitution, it is the duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of the people and improve public health, and to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs.
  • According to above mentioned article, the Uttarakhand High Court has enforced Directive Principles, though some judicial decisions and they are based on combining their underlying goals with aspects of Fundamental Rights. 
  • The Uttarakhand High Court has cited several judgments that hold that engaging in the liquor business is not a Fundamental Right. The court has cited constitutional goals to justify state action against liquor or drugs.
  • It is true to some extent that, these are policy decisions and need to be taken by governments and  courts should be wary of making rules on their own, as it would amount to transgressing into the policy domain. 

Conclusion-

Recent order of Uttarakhand High Court on liquor ban has got mixed reactions from supporters and detractors. Though the decision of liquor ban was well intended as per article 47 of the constitution, but being a policy matter it should be takesn by state governments, instead of judiciary.  

 


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