The Gujarat assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment Act) 2009 bill that proposes death sentence or life imprisonment for those found guilty of manufacturing and selling illicit liquor in case of death of those who consume the brew in the state.
The new bill follows the death of 136 people after consuming illicit brew in Ahmedabad since July 5.
The Gujarat government proposed an amendment to the Bombay Prohibition Act 1949 proposing harsher punishment for those who manufacture and sell illicit liquor resulting in the death of consumers.
The new bill was tabled in the assembly by Minister of State for Home Amit Shah and, after an hour-long discussion, the members unanimously passed the amended bill, which is now called 'Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment Act) 2009'.
The amended bill has also proposed seven-10 years' imprisonment for those found guilty of manufacturing, selling or distributing country liquor -- in cases where it does not result in the death of any consumer.
Shah told the house that the prohibition policy was proposed by Mahatma Gandhi to the British rulers in 1915. The Congress party during the British rule had promised Mahatma Gandhi that the party would implement prohibition in Gujarat after independence. It was enacted in Gujarat from 1950.
The Bombay Prohibition Act 1949 had undergone amendments in 1964, 1978, 2003 and 2005. The Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment Act) 2009 also makes it mandatory for the police to send the seized consignment of country liquor to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Gujarat for testing before suitable charges are filed against the culprits. The seized vehicle in which the liquor was carried would be auctioned and the proceeds deposited in the state government treasury, the amended bill states.