The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a petition seeking an independent and Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe in the hooch tragedy in Bihar’s Chhapra that has claimed over 40 lives so far.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha allowed the petitioner to approach the High Court with the plea saying that relief sought here can be granted by the High Court.
“Why are you coming here? All your reliefs can be granted by the High Court. Let the High Court decide. They have even wider powers than we do. SIT, compensation – everything the High Court can see,” the bench said while granting the liberty to the petitioner to approach the High Court.
The plea was filed by Aryavarta Mahasabha Foundation through advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak, seeking formulation of a national action plan to curb the manufacturing, trading and sale of illicit liquor.
The PIL further sought direction to the State government to adequately compensate the victims’ families because of its inaction rights of the people have been breached and jeopardised.
“Pass direction that the independent Special Investigation Team may be formed by the respondent and an independent probe be conducted in this hooch tragedy for effective steps as per law of the land,” the plea stated.
The PIL said that ever since the government of Bihar prohibited liquor sales in the state in 2016, it has invited scathing criticism for is a substantial failure to implement the ban and for the several adverse consequences that the move has thrust on the people of Bihar.
The State shares its borders with Nepal, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh and none of these states practises prohibition, and there is evidence that liquor is flowing into Bihar from the neighbouring states, given West Bengal and Jharkhand’s phenomenal rise in excise revenue, it added.
As multiple hooch tragedies, resulted in scores of deaths, the state’s prohibition policy came under increasing attack, the plea contended.
Recently in Lok Sabha, the question on the same issue was raised and addressed but no effective steps are being taken to curb the menace of the liquor mafia’s and cartels running the show, the plea stated.
The PIL said this is not the first time that India has reported an incident of people dying after consuming spurious liquor. A similar case was reported from Gujrat, Punjab and Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka etc. in recent years as well causing loss of life, it added.
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