54 drunk people let off in past fortnight in Bihar's Nalanda


Patna, April 25 : As many as 54 offenders, facing charges of alcohol consumption, were let off after paying penalty in Bihar's Nalanda in the past fortnight under the amended liquor law. As per the new liquor policy passed during the recently-concluded budget session, first time offenders can be released after paying the fine. Manish Kumar Shukla, ADJ-4 of Nalanda district court directed the same after imposing a fine of Rs 2,000 each on the offenders. The Nalanda police had detained 54 offenders from different places. Under the new excise policy, they were produced in a special court of liquor violation. Nalanda is the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had imposed a ban on liquor in Bihar in April 2016. Since the law had several loopholes and its implementation was giving a tough time to the state government, the law has been amended. The move had exposed the state government to a lot criticism, including his alliance partners. Leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi had put question mark on it several times in the past saying that the police administration only arrested the people. A large number of court cases also was one of the reasons for the amendment of the law. As per the Patna high court, over 3 lakh bail applications are pending in the several district courts of the state. Moreover, the jails of Bihar have become crowded as large numbers of offenders are lodged in jail only for consuming liquor. Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had also given strong remarks on the liquor ban decision of the state. He termed it a "short-sighted" decision which puts excessive burden on the court. Under the amended bill, there is a provision of first time offenders to get bail from the duty magistrate after depositing the fine. In case the offender fails to deposit the fine, he/she is liable to face a month's jail. Also, those caught for liquor consumption have to disclose the names of persons they obtained the alcohol from. /IANS


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