liquor laws

In this article, Ashwini Gehlot of Institute of Law, Nirma University Ahmedabad discusses Liquor laws – Production & distribution, Consumption and Import & Export.

Production And Distribution

  • India is one of the greatest producers of liquor around the world and adds to 65% of manufacturing and about 7% of imports into the territory. The exact gauge of unrecorded liquor production is not clearly known.
  • It is evaluated that the quantity of liquor manufactured in India in 2006 – 07 may have been roughly 4 million liters. The mass liquor manufactured in India is predominantly from sugarcane molasses. Around 52% of liquor produced in India is for the consumable reason.
  • Among the prevalent liquor products, country liquor and Indian-made foreign alcohol represent about 60 to 70% of the aggregate beverage liquor consumed. The conventional home-prepared beverages represent an expansive degree of unrecorded consumption.
  • Liquor sale and production and distribution are basically a state subject in India. Because of a few impediments in the current excise policies, a considerable lot of the Indian states produce liquor far in abundance of the stipulated quantity.
  • The production, sale, and distribution pursue a complicated duty structure differing from state to state. The tax assessment on imported liquor additionally varies between 100% and 500%.
  • The liquor industry contributed an expected 216 billion in the year 2003 – 04 to the State exchequer and constituted about 90% of the State excise obligations. This income era is one of the essential sources of income for the government.
  • The consumption level of liquor is not directly connected with the taxation policies because the government only increases the tax to generate more revenue.
  • The policies which are promoted till date have been basically with a view to expanding taxes to generate more revenue and not from a public health perspective. Actually, the importance of public’s’ health has been totally ignored while making the policies and programes.

State-wise Alcohol Consumption

State-wise alcohol consumption per capita per week (in ml) as of 2011-12.

State/UT Toddy and Country Liquor Beer, Imported Alcohol, Wine
Andaman & Nicobar Island 656 532
Andhra Pradesh 561 104
Arunachal Pradesh 749 346
Assam 304 19
Bihar 266 17
Chandigarh 37 42
Chhattisgarh 120 27
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 2,533 498
Daman & Diu 252 1,079
Delhi 55 86
Goa 47 108
Gujarat 53 3
Haryana 89 43
Himachal Pradesh 149 73
Jammu & Kashmir 32 7
Jharkhand 320 14
Karnakata 23 102
Kerala 94 102
Lakshadweep 0 0
Madhya Pradesh 133 12
Maharashtra 65 19
Manipur 155 6
Meghalaya 74 49
Mizoram 29 2
Nagaland 159 23
Odisha 146 20
Puducherry 154 144
Punjab 141 50
Rajasthan 80 43
Sikkim 41 307
Tamil Nadu 20 85
Tripura 163 2
Uttar Pradesh 34 5
Uttarakhand 38 43
West Bengal 74 12

A Look At The Different States And Their Liquor Policy, The Amount Of Spirit One Can Stock At Home


As per Delhi excise rules, no person can stock more than 18 liters of liquor, wine, cider, alcopop and beer and 9 liters of Indian and foreign alcohol (rum, whiskey, vodka, gin) at home or for parties. Those making a trip from another state to the capital can’t carry more than a liter of any type of alcohol and those coming from abroad can bring just 2 liters of foreign alcohol with them.

Madhya Pradesh

The Madhya Pradesh government’s decision to permit those with a yearly income of over Rs 10 lakh to stock as many as 100 bottles of costly alcohol in their homes, for a yearly fee of Rs 10,000, has turned the focus on a little-known part of drinking laws in the nation.


The state enables family units to stock 2 bottles of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor); 2 bottles of imported alcohol of any size (1 litre or 5 liters); 1 case of beer (650 ml for each bottle); 2 bottles of the nation made alcohol and of brandy. Those hoping to stock more can get an L-50 license (yearly expense of Rs 1,000 and lifetime charge of Rs 10,000).
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Till 1976, alcohol must be purchased in this north-eastern state through a remedy from a registered medical specialist, but the law was revised/amended in 1976. The state now permits its inhabitants 12 IMFL bottles of “reputed” liquor, each of a greatest 750 ml. There are no arrangements for stocking more.


It enables people to stock 6 bottles (750 ml each) of country alcohol; 18 bottles (750 ml) of IMFL alcohol, of which 6 bottles can be of Imported Foreign Liquor; 6 bottles (750 ml) of rum; 12 bottles (650 ml) of beer ; 6 bottles (750 ml) of gin/cider/vodka and 12 bottles of wine. For those who are still not content or satisfied, the state permits more private ownership through an L-50 form, that can be purchased for Rs 200 (for a year) and Rs 2,000 (lifetime charge).


The state permits residents 9 liters of IMFL or 12 bottles of IMFL. There are, also, arrangements for people hoping to hold parties. For residential parties, licenses can be purchased for Rs 2,000 and also be adding some taxes while for business ones, the rate has been set at Rs 10,000 plus taxes.


The daylight state permits 24 bottles of beer; 12 containers of IMFL alcohol; 6 bottles of rectified spirit and denatured spirit at home; 18 bottles of country alcohol. Goa, however, has strict punishment for violators. According to its excise Act, the punishment which is there are imprisonment (rigorous) which may reach out to 7 years, with or without fine (least punishment not to be less than 6 months).

Himachal Pradesh

48 bottles of beer and 36 of whiskey per individual. For much else, the L-50 permit is appropriate. The hill state also offers some concessions under a special permit called 50-A.

Uttar Pradesh

“The limit is 1.5 liters country-made alcohol, 1.5 liters IMFL and 4 bottles of beer. In the event that anybody is found storing alcohol above this limit, he or she will be liable for lawful action.”

Alcohol Ban On States


Gujarat is proclaimed “dry” by the government. It has a law called Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009 that disallows the sale, production, and consumption of liquor inside the state boundaries.


Liquor has been prohibited in Bihar from April 1, 2016. Under Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill 2016 Section 19(4). All sort of alcohol has been restricted in the state. Sale of a liquor in bars, hotels, clubs and some other place has been unlawful.


It was decided in 2014, that state claimed Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) has 338 shops, and Bevco will close down 10% of them consistently. Consumerfed, which has 46 shops, will likewise be shut. Be that as it may, the sale of liquor will continue to be allowed in 5-star inns, and there were fourteen 5-star inns in the state as of August 2014.Toddy will likewise keep on being legitimately sold, and toddy shops will be allowed to work as before.


Lakshadweep totally bans the consumption and sale of liquor. Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009. Consumption is allowed just on the island of Bangaram.


A restriction was upheld statewide with impact from 1 April 1991 however in 2002, the government lifted prohibition in the 5 hill district of Manipur.The state Legislative Assembly passed the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2002 lifting restriction in the specific regions. And in July 2014, it was expressed in the Manipur state assembly that the state government was taking a gander at the alternative of lifting prohibition in the state.


Nagaland is another north eastern state to a put ban on liquor. The Nagaland Liquor Prohibition Act was instituted in 1989 to put a restriction on the consumption and sale of liquor. Regardless of the prohibition on Zutho and IMFL, a mainstream local drink is to a great extent accessible over the state. Police Authorities know about this illicit sale however they are inactive in making any stride against it.

Liquor Consuming Age In India In Different States

State in which liquor consuming age is 21

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

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

States in which liquor consuming age is 25

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

Dry Days In India

Most Indian states and Union Territories have Dry Days – days when the sale of liquor is restricted. Consumption of liquor out in the public eateries and restaurants is banned while individuals can drink in their homes. Independence Day (August 15), Republic Day (January 26), and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) are usually observed Dry Days in all over the nation. Aside from these, significant celebration days (festival) of the state are normally Dry Days. Various states likewise observe regular Dry Days, for example, the 1st day of the month and so forth. The days going before or following the state/national election are likewise normally Dry Days.

Liquor License

General Procedure Of Getting A License

Part 1 – Understanding What Type of License You Need

Know your state’s liquor laws.

The main thing to know about is that each state has its own principles and prerequisites with respect to the issuance of alcohol licenses, so you should contact a local authority to get some knowledge about concerning liquor laws and the sale of licenses in your particular state.

  • Every state has an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) organization that directs the distribution and sale of alcohol, so you can also contact your local ABC agency for more information.
  • A few states have license quotas with respect to the number of places that can sell liquor inside the state, at any given point in time. Towns may likewise have quotas in place. It is critical to know whether there are any accessible licenses for your state and town – if there aren’t, you may experience issues getting a license.

Figure out if you need an on-license or an off-license.

There are two types of alcohol license required by premises that offer liquor.

  • You will require an on-license if the alcohol you offer is proposed to be consumed on the premises. Businesses that would require an on-permit are taverns, bars, and restaurants.
  • You will require an off-permit if the alcohol you offer is expected to be consumed off the premises. Businesses that would require an off-license are drug stores, alcohol stores, and grocery stores.

Figure out the specific class of license you need.

In a few states, you have to apply for a specific class of license, contingent upon the nature of your business and the assortment of alcohols you expect to offer. Examples of common license classes comprise:

  • Tavern license: it might be required in some states by organizations/businesses that serve food, but earn up to half of their overall benefits through the sale of liquor.
  • Beer and wine: Some smaller restaurants and bars may only be allowed a license to offer “delicate” (soft) alcohols like wine and beer. This license does not give permission to the owner to sell “hard” alcohols, similar to spirits.
  • Restaurant: Restaurant licenses commonly enable any sort of liquor to be sold on the premises. However, the permit may stipulate that exclusive a specific rate of the restaurant’s aggregate income may originate from the sale of liquor. This rate is normally in the region of 40%.

Part 2- Navigating the Application Process

Start as early as possible

 In the event that you anticipate opening a restaurant or bar that serves liquor, it’s essential that you start the way toward acquiring your alcohol permit as ahead of schedule as would be prudent.

Consider the cost.

The cost of getting your alcohol license can shift incredibly. In some cases you will just need to pay a couple of hundred dollars to cover the application fee and taxes.

  • Sadly, because of the license quota that exist in numerous towns and cities, you might be required to purchase a license from an restaurant,existing bar or alcohol store. At the point when this happens, the cost of your acquiring your permit could rocket into the a huge number of dollars range.

Write a clear outline of the type of business you will be running.

As mentioned in Part 1 above, there are normally different licenses for various sorts of organizations – for instance, opening a alcohol store will require a different kind of license than running a local bar.

  • Subsequently, as a major aspect of your application, you should compose a clear portrayal of the sort of business you will be running. You ought to incorporate information on whether you mean to offer liquor for consumption on the premises and on the rate of your aggregate income you hope to originate from the sale of liquor.
  • You ought to incorporate information on what sort of liquor you will be serving or offering. This is vital as a few sorts of liquor require a different license in comparison to others.

Fill in the necessary forms and provide any required documentation.

You can gain the essential forms from your ABC agency or local council and Trade Bureau and The Alcohol and Tobacco. In a few states, you have to submit an application to both the state and your local town or district.

  • The application will incorporate insights about your business and your personal background. And other details, for example, your business experience, your age and having a clean personal record may influence the state’s decision to concede you a license.
  • You will also need to incorporate various vital documents with your application, which may include: a partnership agreement, a certificate of incorporation, a duplicate of your proposed food menu, company constitution, floor plan of the interior and photographs or drawings of the building’s exterior, a code compliance certificate and a duplicate of the declaration of title for the premises.

Be prepared to defend your proposal.

After you present your application, a notice will be posted in the proposed area of your business, including your name, the sort of permit you are applying for and what selling privileges the proposed permit would entitle you to.

  • This notice must be publicly shown for a particular time period (which fluctuates by state). Amid this time, anybody from the local community can approach and challenge your application.
  • Contingent upon the state or city laws, you may be required to post an announcement of your alcohol license application in the local newspaper, and in some other places also which are connected with local neighborhood associations, for example, place of worship, schools, and nearby parks.
  • In the event that there are no objections to your application, local government will continue with assessing your application as normal. On the off chance that there are complaints, you might be called forward to defend your proposition at an open hearing, before an official decision is made.

Part 3- Maintaining your liquor license

Renew your liquor license yearly.

You should renew your alcohol license on a yearly premise, which will include paying a renewal fee.

  • Remember that in case, you remain on favorable terms with your local agency consistently, you might be qualified for a decreased fee.

Be aware that your license can be revoked.

You should have the knowledge of the fact that your license can be revoked in the event that you violate the terms set by your local agency.

  • Basic infringement incorporates over serving liquor beverages to patrons, selling alcohol to a minor and enabling a worker to be intoxicated on the premises.


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