Aizawl, January 30, 2019
The Mizoram bench of Gauhati High Court on January 29th, 2019 repealed the order of the Mizoram government’s ban on sales of liquor from December 21st, 2018 to March 1st, 2019. The bench also instructed the Mizoram government to allow vendors to resume their alcohol business as per the validity of their licences.
Sitting judge, Justice Michael Zothankhuma said that he found the orders of the Commissioner of Excise and Narcotics department declaring the “dry days” for an extended period as “arbitrary” and set the order aside.
After sweeping the Assembly elections last year, the Mizo National Front’s chief minister Zoramthanga said that as promised by their party, they would impose a total prohibition on liquor in the state.
It may be mentioned that liquor ban was imposed in the state by the then Congress government in 1997 under the Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act in 1997. It was lifted in 2015, when Lal Thanhawla was the Chief Minister, after enforcing the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014.
It may be mentioned that the newly formed Mizo National Front government on December 18th, 2018, declared dry days from December 21st, 2018 to January 14th, 2019. Another meeting of the council of ministers on January 10th, 2019 decided to extend the dry days from January 15th, 2019 till March 1st, 2019.
Following which, the owners of the bonded warehouses and retail liquor vendors submitted petitions on January 17, 2019, challenging the orders of the state government.
Justice Zothankhuma also ordered the Mizoram government to allow the owners of the bonded warehouses to import liquor on the basis of permits and the retail vendors to sell liquor as per the validity of their licences issued under the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014.