Seems like alcohol is the biggest evil that the Bihar government is fighting, with the administration going after anyone who consumes, stores or manufactures alcohol in the state. And though drinking alcohol might instigate people to some sort of rowdy behaviour at times, it definitely cannot be a reason to arrest a wife because her husband is secretly drinking. This is exactly what the Nitish Kumar government has come up with to put a stop to the consumption of alcohol. As the monsoon session in the state assembly kicked off last week, the new Prohibition and Excise Bill 2016 was put forth for the lawmakers’ comment.
One of the amendments in the new bill is to arrest women if their husbands are found drinking, albeit secretly. The presumption being that the members of a family will obviously know about the crime of consuming booze by the man and therefore are equal participants in it.
It does not end just there. If the perpetrator, in this case an alcoholic, repeatedly breaches the law, the whole community, village or even town is bound to be slapped by a fine. The Bihar Excise Act 2016 which came into effect from April this year had already banned sale, manufacturing and consumption of alcohol in the state, but this latest development is a new low in the already considered ‘draconian’ law.
I am personally failing to find any logic in this new law of punishing family members because of the alleged sin of one person. Fair enough that people in the influence of alcohol do things they are not supposed to do when they are sober but it is absolutely unfair to punish their adult family members in order to teach the alcoholic a lesson. And later punish the whole of the village. I mean this is the true mother of generalisation.
And women who have nothing to do with their husbands’ drinking alcohol and probably are themselves distressed because of it have to now go through much deeper pain as result of the law. The bill definitely has left out a major part of the population that actually voted the Kumar led government to power in the state.
Utterly senseless and ludicrous, this bill looks half-baked and hastily put together. The government needs to mend the mistake and come up with a more sought bill to tackle the issue of alcohol consumption in the state.
Feature Image Credit: Maps of India