Opposing several pleas before the Gujarat High Court which are challenging the liquor prohibition law in the state, the state government raised preliminary objections on the maintainability of such petitions on Monday.
The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath has posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
Advocate General (AG) Kamal Trivedi, representing the state government, submitted that in 1949 when the law was enacted, “that law did not intend to create complete prohibition” and that the “two chief aims of this legislation, are — preservation and raising of health standards at large and maintenance of public order by regulating the activity of drinking intoxicating liquor.”
Six petitions are before the Gujarat HC, including a PIL, challenging the act, primarily on the ground of right to privacy and on the ground of ‘manifest arbitrariness’ as has been laid down in several cases such as in Shayara Bano versus Union of India and Navtej Johar versus Union of India.
Sections 12 and 13 of the Gujarat Prohibition Act lay down prohibition on consumption of liquor and section 24-IB which prohibits entry in the state in an intoxicated condition, as well as other provisions of the Act have been challenged before the court.
It was AG Trivedi’s argument that most of the sections being challenged have been upheld by the Supreme Court and the provisions that were found to be ultra vires were removed from the Act.