Struck by the worst-ever hooch tragedy in Gujarat, which has killed over 150 in the last one week, the state government decided on Wednesday to frame a new law with provisions of death sentence and life imprisonment. Approved by the cabinet, the amendment to the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 will be introduced in the ongoing session of the state assembly to punish â€˜â€˜anyone involved in brewing, transporting, keeping or seeling the poisonous â€˜latthaâ€™ (methanol-based country liquor)â€™â€™.
â€˜â€˜The existing law is extremely weak on those involved in manufacturing or distributing spurious liquor. It provides for a maximum one year imprisonment,â€™â€™ said a senior official.
The proposed amendments include seven to 10 yearsâ€™ imprisonment, plus fine, to anyone found distilling and distributing illicit liquor. In case of deaths, the law seeks death sentence or life imprisonment.
The proposed amendment, however, is soft on the bootleggers supplying Indian Made Foreign Liquor. While other provisions remain untouched for them, their vehicles will be impounded and sold off after a court judgement in the case. At present, these vehicles are released on a bond if found carrying liquor.
The police officer will have to send the sample of seized liquor to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar to determine if it is spurious. They would be sentenced to one year imprisonment or fined Rs 3,000 if they fail in their duty to do so.