Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath amends 107-year-old law for capital punishment in hooch death cases in UP

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In a stern message to those involved in illicit liquor trade in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has amended the Excise Act to provide capital punishment in hooch deaths.

The BJP government on Wednesday amended the 107-year-old UP Excise Act, 1910 approving capital punishment for those involved in manufacturing and selling illicit liquor resulting in permanent disability and deaths.

Uttar Pradesh has become the second state in the country after Gujarat to have introduced death penalty for the heinous crime which takes away many lives every year.

Unlike neigbhouring Bihar, which banned the liquor in the state, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath chose to amend the existing law and make it more stringent to check illicit liquor trade and at the same time increase its revenue from the excise.

The state had mopped up Rs 14,272 crore during 2016-17 from excise.

“The capital punishment will not only act as deterrent to spurious liquor trade but also curb the smuggling from neigbouring states which results in huge revenue losses to the state exchequer,” pointed the State Excise Minister Jai Pratap Singh.

The Cabinet approved many amendments into UP Excise Act, 1910 and added another Section 60 (K) which has recommended 10 year imprisonment or Rs 10 lakh fine or both and capital punishment, depending on the severity of the crime, in case of permanent disability and deaths against those involved in manufacturing, selling and smuggling of illicit liquor.

“Earlier, there were minor fines against the culprits ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. The culprits used to go scot free after paying the fine and get back to the same crime again. The new provisions will certainly help the state to put an end and curb trade of illicit liquor to save people from hooch tragedies,” claimed the State Minister.

On the recommendations of the State Cabinet, the Governor will soon promulgate an ordinance to make proposed amendments into UP Excuse Act, 1910 effective.

According to available data, about 172 people had died in hooch tragedies between 2009 and 2011 in different parts of the state. The figure rose to 211 in between 2011 and 2014.

In two major hooch tragedies, about 28 people had died in a major hooch tragedy in Malihabad/Unnao in 2015 and another 49 died in Azamgarh in July 2016 after consuming spurious liquor. Many of those who had consumed illicit liquor had lost eyesight. The police had arrested a few in both the cases but the culprits are out of jail due to weaker laws.

To promote the sale of the IMFL, the Akhilesh Yadav government had slashed liquor prices by 25 per cent in 2016.

The Yogi Adityanath government too introduced cashless buying by allowing use of credit/debit cards at liquor outlets.

To ensure that the prices remain under control for steady flow of revenue from excise, the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet has also approved waived Rs 23,000 crore as service tax by withdrawing the Specified Excise Duty on liquor with effect from April 4, 2016.

The State Excise Minister said that the new provisions into the law will be invoked against the excise department officials also if they were found hand in glove with those involved in manufacturing, selling and smuggling of spurious liquor.
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