Liquor Laws

Who gets to get drunk?
Alcohol is a subject in the State list according to the Seventh Schedule in the Constitution of India and therefore, laws differ from state to state. That includes the legal drinking age as well. Here’s the minimum drinking age in all the states of India,

Minimum drinking age – 18
Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Puducherry, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Goa

Minimum drinking age – 21
Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra (beer only), Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand

Minimum drinking age – 25
Punjab, Meghalaya, Delhi, Maharashtra (hard liquor), Haryana, Chandigarh

Alcohol consumption illegal
Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Nagaland

Alcohol prices vary from state to state as well, being very expensive in places like Maharashtra, and extremely cheap in other places like Goa. Due to tax waivers, Union Territories have the cheapest alcohol, so don’t forget to get drunk the next time you’re in Delhi, Daman or Pondicherry, but don’t get caught smuggling anything out!

Dry Days
There are several dry days in all the states of India. Apart from the fixed dates on the calendar, also included are the day or days on which polls in relation to any general election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies or any local authority in the constituency are held. The collector may also, after giving a notice of at least seven days in the local gazette and in any widely circulated newspaper in the area, declare a day as a dry day. The three generic dry days across India are Independence Day (15th August), Republic Day (26th January) and Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October). Every state has it’s own set of dry days apart from these, depending on the religious demographics and so on.

Drunk Driving Laws
The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is fixed at 0.03%, that is 30µl per 100ml of blood. If one’s BAC value is more than 0.03%, then he/she is booked under the first offense, which may amount to a fine of Rs. 2000 and/or a jail term of up to six months. If a second offense is committed within 3 years of the first offense, then the penalty would be a fine of Rs. 3000 and a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. The Union cabinet has proposed changes to the Motor Vehicles Act, reorganizing penalties according to BAC. Under the new provisions, a person with BAC of less than 30µl would face no penalty. If it is between 30 - 60µl, the penalty would be 6 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs. 2000. If the BAC is between 60-150µl, he/she would face one year of imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs. 4000. If repeated within three years, it would rise to 3 years in prison and a fine of Rs. 8000. However, authorities have agreed that these laws are hardly implemented as offenders usually get away with paying a bribe.



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Are you of legal drinking age in your territory?