Gujarat High Court had on October 24 directed the state government to clarify stand on its liquor prohibition policy after a petition demanding the freedom to consume alcohol at private places came up for hearing.
Rajiv Patel, Milind Nene, and Niharika Joshi petioners had contended before the court that the prohibition violates the Right of Privacy and their constitutional Right to Equality and Freedom of Expression. So far, the case has been listed for hearing on three occasions—October 30, November 26, and December 6, but the state has not filed any affidavit clarifying its stand on the issue.
State government is yet to file a reply in the matter, with the case getting adjourned time and again whenever it is scheduled for a hearing.
Now, the next hearing of the matter is scheduled for December 14. Since the petitioners have challenged the constitutionality of various sections of the Gujarat Prohibition Act and the Bombay Prohibition Rules, the then division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice VM Pancholi had clarified that it will first hear the government’s stand on the issue. The bench had also stated that if it is not satisfied by the government’s stand, a notice will be issued to the advocate general, who will then have to argue in the matter. Notably, the Act prohibits a person from carrying, possessing, and drinking liquor at his or her private place.