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Liquor manufacturers in Bihar have got an extension of two months to remove all their stock from the state, which has imposed prohibition.

The Supreme Court on May 29 extended the last date of removal of all such stock to July 31. The existing deadline was May 31, to which the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies had objected, because they had pointed out that nearly Rs 200 crore of stock was at hand and moving this out of the state would need time.

This case had come up from the Bihar government’s challenge of a Patna High Court order quashing the government notification banning the consumption, storage and sale of all types of liquor in the state.

The court had held that the penal provisions were unreasonable and draconian and cannot be justified in a civilized society. Within this, respondent beverages companies had filed application seeking extension of time to remove stocks from the state.

On May 29, the Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Sikri and Deepak Gupta heard the appeal. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal for the liquor manufacturers, submitted: “First they invite us to manufacture, then they say liquor is banned. I have to export my stock.”

While the counsel for the state submitted that there was illegal trade, the bench replied: “There is only the case of disposal of stocks. Hence date extended till July 31. No further extension will be given.”

—India Legal Bureau

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