OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES
PROHIBITION AND EXCISE
The Director of Prohibition and Excise, who is the head of Prohibition and Excise department is responsible for the administration of the Excise and Prohibition laws in the State. His office, therefore, forms a central organisation for directing the proper implementation of the policy of the department and for guiding the Collectors and subordinate Prohibition and Excise Officers in the State.
The Prohibition and Excise department administers the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949; the Bombay Opium Smoking Act, 1936; the Bombay Drugs (Control) Act, 1959; the Medicinal and Toilet Preparations (Excise Duties) Act, 1955; the Spirituous Preparations (Inter-State Trade and Commerce) Control Act, 1955; and the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930.
The Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 prohibits the production, manufacture, possession, exportation, importation, transportation, purchase, sale, consumption and use of all intoxicants. However, these operations are lawful if they are permitted by rules, regulations or orders. The Act also regulates the possession, sale, etc., of mhowra flowers and molasses.
The Bombay Opium Smoking Act, 1936, prohibits the smoking of opium.
The Bombay Drugs (Control) Act, 1959 regulates the possession and sale of certain drugs which are used in a manner injurious to health and which are specified by the Government in the Maharashtra Government Gazette, as 'notified drugs'.
The Medicinal and Toilet Preparations (Excise Duties) Act, 1955, provides for the levy and collection of duty on medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol, opium, Indian hemp or other narcotic drugs or narcotics.
The Spirituous Preparations (Inter-State Trade and Commerce) Control Act, 1955 regulates in public interest, the movement on the inter-State basis of certain spirituous medicinal and other preparations.
The Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930, prohibits the manufacture, exportation, importation, sale, possession and transportation of manufactured drugs like cocaine, morphine, heroin, pethidine etc., except in accordance with the rules made in that behalf.
The enforcement of prohibition i.e., detection, investigation, etc., of offences under the above acts is entrusted to the Police department. Besides administration of the acts mentioned above, the Prohibition and Excise department attends to the work of prohibition propaganda and education. Social workers of repute are appointed at regional levels as Divisional Honorary Prohibition Organisers and they attend to the work of prohibition propaganda by addressing meetings and impressing upon the masses the evil effects of intoxicants. They also work for enlisting the co-operation of social workers and institutions for prohibition propaganda. At the district level, Prohibition Propaganda Officers carry on intensive prohibition propaganda particularly in the notorious areas of the district.
The control in excise matters is vested in the Director of Prohibition and Excise. He is also responsible for the general supervision of the prohibition propaganda work carried out by the departmental officers. The Collectors have certain functions under the aforesaid acts such as issue of licences and permits and in respect of such functions, they are subordinate to the Director of Prohibition and Excise.
For Dhulia district, there is a District Inspector of Prohibition and Excise at Dhulia who assists the Collector of Dhulia in all excise and prohibition matters. Under the District Inspector, there is one Sub-Inspector of Prohibition and Excise for executive work. The Sub-Inspector of Prohibition and Excise has also been vested with certain powers under the Prohibition Act, the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Bombay Opium Smoking Act.
The main functions of this department are confined to licensing, inspection of licences and the enforcement of various controls
enacted under the acts referred to above, particularly under the Bombay Prohibition Act. The officers of the department have also to do propaganda on total prohibition and various advantages derived therefrom amongst the people in the State and to supervise and organise recreation centres in their charges and to co-operate with the police department in their duties of prevention and detection of prohibition offences. The Excise staff is responsible for the supervision of bonded manufactories, ware-houses, neera centres and management of Government liquor and drug sales depots and inspection of various excise licences. They are also required to associate themselves in increasing measures with the ameliorative and social side of the prohibition campaign. Briefly, they are responsible for control, propaganda and ameliorative work. Though the officers of the Prohibition and Excise department of and above the rank of Sub-Inspector have been vested with powers to investigate offences, these officers generally pass on the information of commission of offences and hand over the cases, if any, detected by them to the Police for investigation. The Home Guards Organisation also assists the Police in this work. Under section 134 of the Prohibition Act, village officers, village servants useful to Government and officers and servants of local authorities are bound to give information to the Police of breaches of the provisions of the Act which may come to their knowledge and also to prevent the commission of the breaches of the provisions of the Act about which they may have knowledge. Under section 133, officers and servants of local authorities are also bound to assist any Police officer or person authorised to carry out the provisions of the Act. Under section 135 of the Act, occupiers of lands and buildings, landlords of estates, owners of vehicles etc., are bound to give notice of any illicit tapping of trees or manufacture of liquor or intoxicating drugs to a Magistrate, a Prohibition officer or a Police officer as soon as they come to know of it.
All revenue officers of and above the rank of Mamlatdar or Mahalkari, all Magistrates and all officers of the Department of Prohibition and Excise of and above the rank of Sub-Inspector have been authorised under section 123 of the Prohibition Act, within the limits of their respective jurisdictions, to arrest without a warrant any person whom they have reason to believe to be guilty of an offence under the Act, and to seize and detain any article of contraband. The officer so authorised, when he arrests any person or seizes or detains any articles, has to handover such person or articles without unnecessary delay to the officer incharge of the nearest Police station.
Various permits [In 1972 the Government liberalised its prohibition policy with the result that any person above the age of 21
years can now freely purchase quantity of liquors or wines.] are granted for
possession, use and consumption of foreign liquor. They are−
(1) Emergency Permit.−Emergency permit is granted for the use or consumption of brandy, rum or champagne to any person
for medical use and emergent occasions. A permit is not granted to more than one member of a household at any one time. The term 'household' is defined as a group of persons residing and messing jointly as the members of one domestic unit.
(2) Health Permit.−The health permit is granted for the use or
consumption of foreign liquor to any person who requires such
liquor for the preservation or maintenance of health. Persons over
the age of 40 years are granted health permits for the quantity
as recommended by a Registered Medical Practitioner but not
exceeding four units per month for a period not exceeding
2 years and persons between the age group of 30 and 40 years
are granted three units per month for one year and
persons below 30 years are granted two units per month for one
year on the recommendation of the Area Medical Board or the
State Medical Board or a Registered Medical Practitioner. Persons
under 30 years of age have to apply for renewal of their health
permits through the Area Medical Board or the Civil Surgeon of
(3) Temporary Resident's Permit.−A Temporary Resident's Permit is issued to persons born and brought up or domiciled in a country outside India where liquor is usually consumed. No permit is granted for a period exceeding two years from the date of its commencement.
(4) Visitor's Permit.−Any person visiting the State of Maharashtra for a period of one week and desiring to possess, use and consume foreign liquor is granted this permit which can be extended for a period not exceeding one month.
(5) Special Permit for Privileged Personages.−This permit is granted to consular officers and the members of staff appointed by or serving under them, provided that such members are nationals of a foreign country. It is also granted to the consorts and relatives of the above persons.
(6) Interim Permit.−Any person who is eligible for a Temporary Resident's Permit, Health Permit or Special Permit for the Privileged Personages and desires to possess, use or consume foreign liquor pending grant of any of the regular permits mentioned above is granted an Interim Permit.
(7) Tourists Permit.−A foreign tourist holding a tourists
introduction card or tourist visa visiting the State of Maharashtra
is issued free a tourist permit for a period not exceeding one
month. An All-India Tourist permit is granted for period of
three months by visa issuing officers of the Indian Overseas
Missions and by Tourist Offices at Bombay, Delhi and Madras.
The possession, use, etc., of Toddy is completely prohibited.
The possession and use of denatured spirit is prohibited except
under permit or licence. A permit for possession and use of
denatured spirit for domestic purposes is normally granted for
a quantity not exceeding one quart bottle per month.
Provided that the officer granting the permit may for any special reasons grant the permit for any quantity not exceeding three quart bottles per month.
Provided further that with the previous sanction of the Collector, a permit may be granted for a quantity exceeding three quart bottles per month.
The possession and use of denatured spirit for medicinal, scientific and educational purposes and for purpose of art, industry or profession is regulated by the system of licences prescribed in this behalf. Methylated industrial denatured spirit required for use in any industry etc., is allowed to be possessed on licences issued under the Bombay Denatured Spirit Rules, 1959.
Country liquor and Wine.
Authorisation for use of country liquor and wine for sacramental purposes only are granted to priests of certain communities, viz. Parsees, Jews and Christians. The possession, use, etc., of country liquor except for sacramental purposes is prohibited.
Ganja, Bhang and Opium.
A permit for personal consumption of ganja, bhang and opium is granted only on production of a medical certificate from the Medical Board constituted by the Government or a Medical Officer appointed for the purpose.
Neera and Palm Product Scheme.
Neera sale licences as well as licences for manufacturing gur from Neera are granted only to the co-operative societies organised by constructive social workers, other similarly organised institutions such as Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, ashrams, organisations incharge of intensive area schemes and sarvodaya centres, etc., on the recommendation of Khadi and Village Industries Board for the State of Maharashtra. Licences are not granted to individuals.
In order to provide facilities for recreation and to serve as counter attraction for the purpose of weaning away the addicts from the drink and drug habit. Sanskar Kendras or Cultural Centres are established in labour areas or areas notorious for prohibition offences. They are run either departmentally or by efforts of the local social workers or social institutions interested in prohibition work. At the Sanskar Kendras, newspapers, magazines and facilities for indoor and outdoor games are provided and programmes like bhajans, kirtans, music, folk songs, dramas, etc., are arranged. Government grants subsidy to the Sanskar Kendras run by social workers and institutions. In Dhulia district, there are two departmental Sanskar Kendras located at Ner and Visarwadi.
The Government have recently further liberalised rules regarding granting of permits and any person above the age of thirty years can get a permit on production of a medical certificate.