Nitish Kumar’s controversial liquor ban is not illegal yet. Last week, the Patna High Court said the prohibition policy championed by Mr Kumar as Chief Minister is unconstitutional. Today, the Supreme Court set aside that decision while it reviews the matter.
After losing its case in the Patna High Court, Mr Kumar’s argument appealed to the Supreme Court to let the ban remain.
Mr Kumar, while campaigning for his re-election for a third term, promised women voters that he would turn Bihar into a dry state.
However, the law he introduced in April has been criticized as hyper-stringent because of provisions like punishing an entire family if a member is found drinking, making or buying alcohol. Policemen have refused promotion, claiming that the penalty for not implementing the law is too stiff.
Mr Kumar’s policy has been challenged by a slew of petitioners including alcohol manufacturers.Bihar is the country’s third most-populous state and the Chief Minister did away with initial plans to phase out liquor in phases, implementing a state-wide ban six months ahead of schedule. More than 13,000 people have been arrested since April for violating the prohibition policy.n an opinion piece written exclusively for ndtv.com in August, Mr Kumar offered an elaborate defense of his policy, declaring it as “transformational” and vowing that unlike other states, Bihar’s prohibition law would be neither “symbolic or partial.”Let me assure all, in Bihar, there will be no half measures. I will stand my ground,” he wrote, claiming that by enforcing prohibition, he was meeting the needs and wishes of lakhs of women.