On July 15th 2021 Delhi CM during his interview with the news reporters stated that the new excise policy will give a fair trade liquor competition in the country. The Minimum legal age to drink in the capital city Delhi is 25 which is the highest minimum legal drinking age in the country. But one of the Provisions in the New Excise Policy intended to reduce this age from 25 to 21 was challenged by a plea made by an NGO All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha in the Delhi High Court. On 28th July 2021, Delhi High Court issued a notice and ordered the Delhi government to file a reply petition on the said matter. The five southern states namely Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala account for 45% of total alcohol consumption in the country. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age [MLDA] in these states are 18 and 21 years. Decreasing the MLDA will lead to increased consumption of alcohol among the college students and younger generation
Legal drinking age
Twenty-one years is the age of a person where he starts his life professionally. It is considered to be the starting age for setting up a good career. Young people are prone to alcohol consumption when they leave their home and study by staying in the hostels. They were not actively educated about the ill effects of alcohol consumption at such a young age. Now-a-days alcohol consumption is considered normal among the younger generation people. Decreasing the Alcohol consumption age not only leads to physical illness it also results in increased mortality rate and crimes rate. Most of the crimes committed in India are done by persons under intoxicated state. It is used as an excuse or exception in order to escape from being penalized. Section 85 of IPC deals with the general defence of intoxication. Reducing the age of alcohol consumption will lead to increased domestic violence among the young married couple. Rate of Marital rape will be increased. Even though it is not a defined offence under IPC it greatly affects the mental health of married women. Reducing the alcohol age by the government would be the senseless decision a government can ever take for increasing its revenue. As previously said the five southern states namely Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala are getting 15% of the overall revenue from liquor Selling. Moreover in the year 2017 in the total number of road accidents occured drunk and driven contributes 3.0% (14,071 cases). Among UP 3,336 cases followed by Andhra Pradesh 2064 and TamilNadu 1833. This acts as clear evidence that the states having MLDA at 21 years old contributes more in Drunk and driving accidents among the country. The Seventh Schedule of Indian Constitution mentions the Alcohol and its related subjects under the state list which means that state can have its own decision on that particular subject matter. States should be issued with guidelines for increasing the MLDA to 23 years. Not only the Liquor drinking also the liquor purchasing age should be increased to 23 years. Purchasing or Selling liquor to a person below 23 years of age should be recognised as deemed offence. Any person abetting an under aged person to consume alcohol should be penalized. In addition to increasing the MLDA to 23 the use of other substances like cigarettes and the like should also be prohibited to be used by persons under 23 years of age. Also any person manufacturing counterfeit liquor which involved the labour of less than 23 years should be penalized in addition to the existing punishments. Liquor selling shops must make it mandatory to verify the id proof of the buyer. Private clubs and pubs should be prohibited from selling alcohol to a person under the age of 23 and similarly id verification should be a mandatory procedure.
However it is not very guaranteed that increasing the MLDA will reduce the alcohol consumption among the younger generation people. Corruption will be continued until the total prohibition is implemented which of course is a state of imagination in our country.