- Adults in household where alcohol is found can go to jail: new law
- Govt hopes to pass the law during next assembly session
- Bihar had introduced prohibition three months ago
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's cabinet has just cleared a new bill that says that every adult in a household where liquor is found can go to jail for 10 years, without prospect of bail.
Family members will also go to jail for "complicity in the crime" if they had known that someone at home is drinking, in violation of the three-month-old liquor ban.
The government hopes to pass the bill during the next assembly session.
Bihar Excise Minister Abdul Jalil Mastan said the rules were made tougher to counter the growing perception that it is easy to get away if one is caught drinking; many of the arrested have been granted bail.
Mr Mastan denied reports that said that the government wants neighbours or village heads to be punished for helping an accused person.
The government has clarified that "only elders or adults" of a family will be arrested.
Several questions were reportedly raised during the cabinet meeting on Monday. Sources say it was discussed that earlier liquor bans in 1977 and 1986 failed to achieve results as the penalties were not strong enough.
The new bill also proposes strict punishment for excise and police officers found involved in the smuggling of liquor. The state government is likely to introduce the bill for passing when the new session begins on Friday.
While Nitish Kumar has positioned himself as a mascot of prohibition and taken his campaign to other states, his own party men have been known to fail him.
Earlier this month, Janata Dal United leader Lallan Ram was arrested and suspended from the party after a video of his drunken rant went viral on social media.