A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by actor Imran Khan was admitted for final hearing by the Bombay high court on Thursday. The PIL challenged the state government’s decision to increase the age limit for a liquor licence from 21 years to 25 years, and not allow those aged between 18 and 21 to consume alcohol.
Stating that the legal issues in the PIL needed consideration, the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Anoop Mohta also directed the government to file an affidavit in reply by April 15.
The 30-year-old actor’s lawyer, Milind Sathe, argued that the decision to raise the legal age for drinking hard liquor from 21 years to 25 years and mild liquors from 18 years to 21 years violated an adult’s right of choice. “As soon as I become 18 years old, I must have a choice and it cannot be subjected to state regulation,” the senior advocate submitted. “The state government cannot impose unreasonable or arbitrary fetters and restrictions on such a choice.”
Sathe also pointed out that the notification issued by the state government on September 26, 2005, which raised the legal age limit for getting a liquor permit from 21 years to 25 years, was contrary to the provisions of the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1953. “The mandate of the Act is that there should be no sale to or consumption of liquor by a minor,” he said adding that legally minor is a person below 18 years of age.