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Legal Compliance check for your Home Bar in Delhi

March 10, 2022
Wide shot of bottles and glasses in display cabinet at a bar in Scandic Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark

By Rupin Chopra and Nihit Nagpal

Recently in Delhi, an FIR was filed against a man for storing 132 bottles of liquor at his house, containing 51.8 litres of whisky, vodka, gin, rum, and 55.4 litres of beer, wine. The recovered quantity of liquor was allegedly beyond the permissible limit as prescribed under Rule 20(a) of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010[1] which permits an individual aged above 25 years, to possess Indian and Foreign Liquor as follows:

Indian and Foreign Liquor Quantity
Whisky, Vodka, Gin, Rum 9 Litres
Beer, Wine 18 Litres
Total Quantity 27 Litres (Per Adult aged above 25 years)

 

Penalty for unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture, sale, etc. including possession of more than the permissible limits as specified above, is imprisonment for a term which is not less than six months and which may extend to three years and with fine which is not less than fifty thousand rupees and which may extend to one lakh rupees[2].

 

The FIR was filed under Section 33 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009[3]. However, accused filed a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[4] at the Delhi High Court in the case titled as Avijeet Saluja v. State of NCT of Delhi[5] seeking quashing of the FIR. The counsel for the accused (petitioner), stated that there has been no violation of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 informing the Hon’ble Court that there were 6 adults above the age of 25 years residing at the petitioner’s residence and relying on Rule 20(a) of the said Rules, the maximum limit for individual possession of Indian and Foreign Liquor i.e. whisky, vodka, gin and rum was 9 litres, and for wine, beer was 18 litres.

 

It was clarified that as per the FIR, liquor seized from the petitioner’s house amounted to 51.8 litres of whisky, vodka, gin and rum, and 55.4 litres of wine and beer, and the amount of liquor recovered falls within the maximum permissible limit as there were 6 adults above the age of 25 years residing at the petitioner’s residence and thus, total possession of liquor could be 54 litres of whisky, vodka, gin and rum, and 108 litres of beer and wine, therefore, offence under Section 33 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 was not made out.

 

The Hon’ble High Court allowed the petition and quashed the FIR as there was prima facie no violation by the petitioner of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 as the quantities of alcohol recovered from the residence of 6 adults, all above the age of 25 years, were within the permissible limits of the of Delhi Excise Rules, 2010.

Karanveer Singh, Junior Associate at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this article.

[1] Rule 20. Maximum limit for retail sale and individual possession of liquor.

[2] Section 33. Penalty for unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale, etc.

[3] Section 33. Penalty for unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture, possession, sale, etc.

[4] Section 482. Saving of inherent powers of High Court.

[5] W.P. (CRL) 626/2021 & CRL.M.As. 4590/2021 & 4591/2021

 

 

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