Patna, August 3: A day after it was passed by the Assembly, the Bihar Excise and Prohibition Bill was today ratified by the Legislative Council with voice vote amidst opposition boycott, as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to allay fears of the opposition on its 'stringent' provisions.
With both the Houses of Bihar Legislature giving green signal to the new Excise law, it will now go to the Governor for his approval. After Governor's approval it would become the new Liquor law replacing the existing one.
The over three-hour long debate on the bill with additional clauses aimed at implementing the liquor ban more stringently was acrimonious in the Upper House between the opposition and the Treasury benches.
While senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi led the attack on the Grand Secular Alliance government over the new liquor bill, the CM himself took the charge from ruling side and sought to allay apprehensions expressed while defending stringent provisions added in the Excise Act passed earlier this year during budget session.
The NDA members, who had unsuccessfully moved more than a dozen amendments to the Bihar Excise and Prohibition Bill, 2016 staged a walkout from the House over government not accepting their amendments.
The NDA members had similarly boycotted government's reply yesterday in the Assembly to protest some stringent provisions in the Bill. Intervening in the debate, Nitish Kumar defended the new Liquor law in a bid to dismiss opposition sharp criticism describing it as 'Talibani', 'draconian' and 'undemocratic'.
Replying to BJP's concern that all adult members of a family would go to jail if a liquor bottle is found from the house, Kumar categorically stated that its a wrong interpretation of the provision.
The family has been clearly defined in the Act as per which family consists of a husband, wife and their dependent children and not the grandfather or grandmother or maternal grandfather or grandmother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, etc, he said.
"If a liquor bottle is seized from a house and nobody claims it, in that condition all the adult members present in the house would be put behind bars for hiding the truth as who brought the alcohol into the house," he said.
"If anyone takes responsibility, the concerned person would go to jail and not the entire family," Kumar said.