Tamil Nadu Amends Act To Enhance Punishment For Those Selling Toxic Liquor

Days after the Kallakurichi toxic liquor tragedy in the state that claimed over 60 lives, the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday amended a prohibition act to substantially enhance the punishment, which included life imprisonment for bootleggers in case of fatalities following consumption of spurious liquor.

The state government amended the Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act, 1937 to enhance the punishment term and quantum of fine for offences like manufacture, possession and selling of illicit liquor that endangers lives.

The Tamil Nadu Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2024, which shall come into force on such date as notified by the government, aims to completely eradicate the menace of illicit liquor from the state.

The amendment substantially enhances the term of imprisonment and quantum of fine for various offences under sections 4,5,6,7 and 11 of the Act.

Accordingly, a maximum punishment of 10 years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) and a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh has been proposed in the amendment.

In case of death due to consumption of illicit liquor, then the punishment for bootleggers will be RI for life with a fine not less than Rs 10 lakh, it said.

The Kallakurichi tragedy that happened about a fortnight ago, had left about 63 people dead, including women and a transgender. The ruling DMK faced flak over the issue from its rival and main opposition party, the AIADMK and the BJP, which have been demanding a CBI probe into the spurious liquor issue in the state’s northern district.

The AIADMK members, earlier this week, were suspended from the rest of the session of the Assembly that concluded today, for allegedly trying to create ruckus over the issue in the House.

On Saturday, Congress Legislature party leader K Selvaperunthagai, supporting the government bill, suggested having a check and balance in the system, especially constituting a select committee instead of vesting all powers with the police.

PMK’s G K Mani sought the government to fix the onus on the police or particular official for hooch tragedy and take steps to introduce complete prohibition in the state.

The Bill introduced by Prohibition Minister S Muthusamy was later passed by the House.

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