Alcohol laws

In this article, Manasvi Singh discusses Alcohol laws in India.

Liquor laws in India

  • Alcohol is something whose demand and sale does not fall but can rise only with time. There are various laws regarding liquor in India and there is no uniformity in these at all.
  • The subject of alcohol is included in the state list under the seventh schedule of the constitution of India. Thus, the law which governs the sale and consumption of alcohol varies from state to state.
  • License is needed to sell the alcohol and in some particular states, so are the consumers. Usually liquor stores, pubs, clubs, discos, bars, hotels and restaurants are licensed to sale alcohol.
  • In addition to this, beaches and houseboats may hate the license to sell alcohol to tourists. The sellers are required to hold a license to sell alcohol, otherwise the selling of alcohol is illegal and prohibited.

Legal age for alcohol consumption

The permitted age for drinking alcohol varies from state to state. And even the consumption and purchasing age of alcohol are different in the states. This difference, in purchasing and consumption of alcohol, creates confusion results in difficulty in implementation of the law of consumption age of alcohol.

For example, in Maharashtra, the consumption age of alcohol is 25 and a major (i.e.18) can buy alcohol. In such a situation, it gets hard to make sure that the person, who is major and buying alcohol, is or is not going to consume the alcohol as well.

In Karnataka as per Karnataka Excise Department, 1967 legal age of drinking is 21 however as per The Karnataka Excise Act, 1965 Section 36 legal age to purchase alcohol is 18 years. In many states the act were silent about either about the valid drinking age or purchasing age. In such a situation, for the purpose of convenience it is assumed that the both the age is same.[1]

States in which liquor consuming age is 18

  1. Andaman Nicobar islands (Andaman and Nicobar Islands Excise Regulation, 2012 Section 24 Excise Policy RULE 14)
  3. Kerala (Abkary Act, (1 OF 1077) Section- 15A & 15B)
  4. Mizoram {Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Bill 2014 Section 58}
  5. Pondicherry (The Pondicherry Excise Act, 1970 Section 35)
  6. Rajasthan (Rajasthan Excise Act 1950, SECTION 22)
  7. Sikkim {THE SIKKIM HOME GUARDS BILL, 1992 ( BILL NO. 1 OF 1992 ) SECTION 20}

States in which liquor consuming age is 21
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  1. Andhra Pradesh {The Andhra Pradesh (regulation of Wholesale Trade and Distribution and Retail Trade in Indian Liquor, Foreign Liquor, wine and Beer) Act, 1993}
  2. Arunachal Pradesh (The Arunachal Pradesh Excise Act, 1993 section 42)
  3. Assam (Rule 241 and 5.10 of the Assam excise Rule 1945)
  4. Chhattisgarh (The Chhattisgarh Excise Act, 1915 Section 23)
  5. Dadra and Nagar Haveli (THE DADRA AND NAGAR HAVELI EXCISE REGULATION, 2012 Section 24)
  6. Daman and Diu (The Goa, Daman and Diu Excise Duty Act & Rules 1964 section 19)
  7. Goa (The Goa Excise Duty Act and Rules, 1964 Section 19)
  8. Jammu and Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir Excise Act, 1958 SECTION- 50 B  Jammu and Kashmir Liquor License and Sales Rules, 1984 RULE 11)
  9. Jharkhand (The Bihar & Orissa Excise Act, 1915 Section 54)
  10. Karnataka (Karnataka Excise Department, 1967)
  11. Madhya Pradesh (The Madhya Pradesh Excise Act, 1915SECTION 23)
  12. Orissa (THE ODISHA EXCISE ACT, 2005 SECTION 61)
  13. Tamil Nadu {Tamil Nadu Liquor (License and Permit) Rules, 1981Section 25 rule XV}
  14. Telangana (Andhra Pradesh  Excise Act 1968- SECTION 36)
  15. Tripura (THE TRIPURA EXCISE ACT, 1987 SECTION 53)
  16. Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces Excise Act, 1910 Section 2)
  17. Uttrakhand {United Provinces Excise Act, 1910 The Uttaranchal (The Uttar Pradesh Excise Act, 1910) Section 2}
  18. West Bengal (Bengal Excise Act 1909 SECTION 51)

States in which liquor consuming age is 25

  1. Chandigarh (Punjab Excise Act, 1915 Section 23)
  2. Delhi (Delhi Excise Act, 2010 Section 23 Delhi Liquor License Rules, 1976)
  3. Haryana (Punjab Excise Act,1914– SECTION 29)
  4. Meghalaya (EASTERN BENGAL AND ASSAM ACT, 1910)
  5. Punjab (Punjab Excise Act,1914– SECTION 29)

States in which liquor consumption is illegal

These are the states which are known as ‘DRY STATES’. The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned in over 6 states of India which totally restrict the sale, consumption and even possession of the liquor.

  1. Bihar {Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill 2016 Section 19(4)}
  2. Gujarat {Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009}
  3. Lakshadweep {Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009}
  4. Manipur (The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act of1991)
  5. Nagaland (Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989)

Liquor consuming law in Maharashtra

Wine can be consumed at any age in Maharashtra, while for beer consumption the legal age is 21 and for other intoxicants or liquors the legal age is 25. Someone who lives or visits in Wardha District, one has to be 30 years of age to drink.

Recent development in liquor law in Bihar

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has banned alcohol in Bihar since April 4, 2016. This Bona fide decision has been taken with the coming of new government in Bihar.


Dry Days are the days when alcohol is prohibited in India, regardless the states. There are some days specifically when the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October) are usually dry days throughout India as they are considered as the National Holidays so every state is bound to celebrate that day as a DRY DAY.[2] There are also other celebrations and festivals in the India which are considered as Dry Days.

Implementation of the Alcohol laws in India

Drunkenness is defined as the condition produced by a person who has taken alcohol in a quantity sufficient to cause him to lose control of his faculties to such an extent that he is unable to execute the occupation on which he is engaged at the material time.[3] The trend of consuming the alcohol does not limit itself to any particular class in the society; it is widespread among people of every class. Not only alcohol is injurious to health, but crime rate gets raised too. For example, drink and drive cases or killings in the influence of intoxication or even assaulting cases after consuming alcohol. Drink and drive cases are very common in most of the state of India.

However, the state government has made liquor laws to govern the sale and consumption of the alcohol and makes amendment time to time to do alternation when new laws are needed.


With the analysis of liquor laws in the various states of India, it can be concluded that the state governments are attempting to get the crime rate and the hazardous consequences in control. And as a result of this attempt, the permitted age for consuming alcohol differ in the various states. Through these laws, states make efforts to save the future of youth and next generation of the country.

The laws made with motive to lower the rate of consumption of alcohol are violated rigorously. People who are habitual drinkers tend to avoid the state liquor laws to drink liquor. For example, in Delhi the government imposed fine on consuming liquor in public and people, who consume alcohol, do so breaking rules and pay fines. In spite of not consuming alcohol, they break laws to consume alcohol.

It is very clear to all that in India, like any other law, liquor law has also been taken for granted. Any law regarding liquor which is meant to get alcohol consumption in control gets avoided instantly in India and people always find a way to break to law like in DRY STATES where liquor is prohibited, there are sellers available in states who sell liquor illegally and people buy it illegally. There are even more unlicensed sellers of liquor than licensed ones. The states where one has to possess a license to but alcohol, people who don’t possess them.

All the laws regarding liquor selling, purchasing and consuming are violated by people and the strength of such people is huge. It shows the condition of liquor laws implementation in India which is absolutely poor.[4] It is very essential for the nation to ensure that legal drinking age should be strictly followed and there should be diligent participation of the law enforcement agencies towards this. There is a need of laws with strict punishments to make sure the implementation of those laws as well.


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[1] Bhavneet Singh Vohra, Alcohol Laws In India,

[2] Bhavneet Singh Vohra, Alcohol Laws In India,

[3] Regulation and Legislation,

[4] Bhavneet Singh Vohra, Alcohol Laws In India,

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