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Current Affairs

Gujarat’s prohibition law challenged

Date: 29 June 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws


A petition has been filed in the Gujarat High Court challenging the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949. This law had come into being as Bombay Prohibition Act.



The Bombay Abkari Act, 1878 was the first such law that aimed to control liquor business in the state. It majorly dealt in levying duties on sale of such intoxicants.



  • The prohibition amendments were made in 1939 and 1947. The policy introduced in 1939 could not be properly initiated as the government lost power.

  • The plan was re-visited in 1940 and the government decided to implement total prohibition widely in the state for a period of four years.

  • It was decided to bring all type of intoxicants and narcotics within its purview for implementing the law thoroughly. The Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 was thus introduced.

  • After the re-organisation of states into Gujarat and Maharashtra, it was decided that liberalisation of liquor had to be carried out to prevent illicit liquor business.

  • State of Maharashtra repealed prohibition but the state of Gujarat decided to implement the provision more strictly.

  • Gujarat instead made it easy for foreign tourists and tourists to get liquor permit. The act was named Gujarat Prohibition Act in 2011.


Challenging petition

Petitions have been filed against the Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953 and Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949 as it is argued that they were not part of constitutional process.


Grounds on filing petition

  • The petitions have been filed on two grounds: the first on right to privacy, which has been termed a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.

  • The second ground is regarding granting of temporary permits for tourists from outside the state. This has been termed a violation of right to equality.

  • The petitioners argue that by controlling food and dietary habits of citizens, the state is encroaching on the individual choices and freedom.


Way ahead

  • The Gujarat HC will verify if it comes under its domain to examine the law and undertake detailed study.

  • If the HC feels that it has no right to hear on the matter, the litigants will have to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the law.