'Serious issue': SC pulls up Punjab over sale of spurious liquor - New Delhi News
by IANS | Updated Dec 05, 2022
The top court asked the state government to come up with specific steps to curb the menace of spurious liquor, while adding that the youth will be finished.
A bench headed by justice M.R. Shah orally observed that drugs are a problem and also the illegal manufacture of alcohol and they adversely affect the health of the people.
The bench said this is unfortunate, and "Punjab is a border state", adding that if somebody wants to finish the country, they will start at the borders. It added that every effort should be taken to save the country, and it is very easy to ruin the youth.
The bench, also comprising justice C.T. Ravikumar, was hearing a plea in connection with allegations of large-scale illegal liquor manufacturing and sale in Punjab.
The top court noted that several FIRs were registered in the past two years and added that funds seized by authorities, during clamp down on illegal manufacturing units, should be utilised for awareness campaigns.
The bench sought reply from the state government on steps taken to combat domestic and commercial production of illegal liquor and suggested that the state may also come out with a circular on effective investigation and enquiry, when an illegal manufacturing unit is found.
Concluding the hearing, the bench noted that nobody knows the plight of the affected families and added people like labourers, because they are tired after work, they consume it. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing next Monday.
On November 21, the apex court, in its order, said it cannot be disputed that because of the illegal manufacturing of liquor and that too sub-standard manufacture and transportation of liquor, hooch tragedies are taking place and the poor people are the sufferer because ultimately either it affects their health or even in many cases many people have lost their lives.
"As such, we are not at all satisfied with the progress in the investigation. It appears that no serious efforts seem to have been made to reach out to the real guilty/culprits who are in business of manufacture and transportation of such illegal liquors. Cancelling the licences and/or recovery of penalties/duties is not sufficient. Even nothing has been pointed out that the penalties/duties levied are in fact paid or not", it said.
The bench said in the short reply by way of an affidavit of Sarabjit Singh, PPS, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Litigation, Bureau of Investigation, Punjab, Chandigarh, it appears that during the years from 2019 up to May 31, 2021, total 34,767 criminal cases were registered under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914. "It is stated in the said reply that for the aforesaid period, there are 1270 illegal units/Bhatthis manufacturing illicit liquor unearthed and destroyed, the aforesaid is suggestive that large scale of illicit liquor is being manufactured in the State of Punjab, which shows the lack of periodical inspection and supervision by the concerned police officers/Excise Department due to which such units are functioning", said the court's order.
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