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MP Cabinet Gives Nod to Death Penalty Proposal in Spurious Liquor Cases

The cabinet has approved the Madhya Pradesh Excise Amendment Act 2021 under which the provisions of life imprisonment and the death penalty have been made.

The cabinet has approved the Madhya Pradesh Excise Amendment Act 2021 under which the provisions of life imprisonment and the death penalty have been made.

The move comes against the backdrop of the death of at least 11 people allegedly after drinking spurious liquor in Mandsaur and Indore recently.

The Madhya Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday approved amendments to the state Excise Act prescribing capital punishment and life imprisonment in the cases related to deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor. This amendment proposal, which also imposes a Rs 20 lakh fine, will become a law once approved by the state Legislative Assembly and subsequent assent of the governor. The move comes against the backdrop of the death of at least 11 people allegedly after drinking spurious liquor in Mandsaur and Indore recently. The cabinet has approved the Madhya Pradesh Excise Amendment Act 2021 under which the provisions of life imprisonment and the death penalty have been made in the cases related to deaths due to spurious liquor.

A provision of Rs 20 lakh fine in such cases has also been made in the amendment, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters after attending a cabinet meeting. He said the amendments are introduced to curb crimes related to the illegal liquor trade and deaths caused due to spurious liquor. Under the current scope of the law, convicts are sentenced to imprisonment of five to a maximum of ten years in cases related to deaths due to the consumption of spurious liquor. The amount of fine is up to Rs 10 lakh, Mishra said. This law is being made more stringent through this amendment, he added. Mishra said in cases of “physical damage" caused to victims after drinking spurious liquor, the penalty has been increased ranging from 10 years to maximum of 14 years from the present one year to six years, in addition to fine up to Rs 10 lakh.

“In case of seizure of spurious liquor, the jail term has been increased up to six to ten years from the present six months to maximum four years," he said. The amendments also propose that people who attack the police and Excise department teams while they are seizing illicit liquor will be arrested without a warrant. The scope of punishment has been increased in several other provisions in this amendment proposal, he said. These provisions will discourage people involved in illegal liquor trade and lives of people could be saved, he said.

Meanwhile, the state government has decided to grant the “heritage" status to liquor made from Mahua flowers in a bid to bring it in the mainstream, an official release said. The rules for the controlled manufacture and sale of this liquor will be framed by the department. This will encourage small-scale Mahua liquor industries. Rights of tribals, as mentioned in Act, will be preserved without change, it said.

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To stop smuggling and illegal trade of liquor, the Madhya Pradesh government on Monday decided to fix QR-coded holograms with over 20 security features on booze bottles. Reacting to the cabinet’s approval to the death penalty proposal, Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath said the state government should show “strong will" to act against liquor mafia. Mafia can never be dealt with only by making laws. Implementation of the law is very important and for that the government should be strong-willed. The government has been talking about strict laws regarding the safety of women for years, but even today they are not safe in the state, Nath said while apparently referring to the provision of death penalty in the cases of rape of minor girls.

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first published:August 03, 2021, 20:05 IST