Alappuzha: The Commissioner of Excise has issued an order curtailing the power of preventive officers and inspectors in cases involving drinking in public places and illegal possession and sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).
The joint excise commissioner announced the commissioner’s instruction at the monthly review meeting of excise personnel on Monday.
Under the existing provisions of Abkari Act, officials in the rank of preventive officers and above have the power to register cases in aforesaid offences.
As per the order, inspectors and preventive officers will have to obtain prior permission from higher-ups including deputy excise commissioner and joint excise commissioner before initiating legal action against those who indulge in drinking in public places or persons who possess liquor beyond the permissible limit. Cases can now be registered only with the consent of higher authorities.
Terming the decision an infringement on the Abkari laws, excise officials said the move would have an adverse impact on crackdowns on consumption of liquor in public and propagate anarchy. It was alleged that the order was issued in accordance with the government's liberalised liquor policy that permits opening of more bars. Prior to the issuance of the order, the department had prepared a report on the rise of unlawful trade and consumption of liquor.
Meanwhile, highly placed sources in the excise department said that the fresh move came in the wake of the drop in the number of narcotics cases after officials prioritised crackdown on illegal liquor trade and consumption in order to meet their monthly target of cases.
Excise personnel have been directed to intensify drive against narcotic drugs, officials added.
It remains to be seen how the new order will have an impact on the law and order situation in the state, and society as a whole.
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