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Delhi High Court adjourns hearing in plea seeking curbs on alcohol, drugs in Delhi

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The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned to July 4 its hearing on a plea seeking prohibition and control on production, distribution and consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs in the national capital.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna was dealing with a plea filed by BJP leader and practicing Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who is also an ardent PIL activist.

During the course of the hearing today, the Bench asked Upadhyay as to how many petitions are ready for filing with him and remarked that all the PILs filed by him would be taken up on a particular day.

“How many petitions you have got typed, or in your drawer?” the Bench asked.

The Court refused to issue notice in the matter today and posted it for hearing on July 4 while asking counsels for other sides to keep accumulating matters filed by him till then.

Upadhyay urged the Bench to issue notice in the matter concerning the right to health of citizens, which is being brazenly violated by uncontrolled production and distribution of liquor in the city.

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Upon this, the Bench remarked: “We are not saying no to your matter. But we are not issuing notice at this stage.”

The instant petition seeks a direction to the AAP Government to publish health warnings on liquor bottles and packaging, akin to warning signs on cigarette packets. The plea inter alia seeks for carrying out Health Impact Assessment and Environment Impact Assessment of production, distribution and consumption of such drinks and drugs which are injurious to health, and to advertise the health hazard and environment hazard of them through electronic, print and social media.

Alleging that the Delhi Government, in the last seven years, has made Delhi “Liquor Capital” of India, the plea states that the New Liquor Policy implemented last year by the Government will drastically increase liquor shops in the city, in blatant violation of right to health guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

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“Delhi has total 280 municipal wards and until 2015, there were only 250 liquor shops i.e. on an average, one liquor shop in every municipal ward and 30 wards without a single liquor shop. However, under the New Liquor Policy, State government is planning to drastically increase the number of liquor shops and it would be around three liquor shops in every municipal ward, which is not only arbitrary and irrational but also brazenly offends rule of law as well as right to health guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution”

-reads the plea while asserting that the State Government is obligated to protect secure good health to the citizens under Article 47 of the Constitution.

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