In one of the fastest trials ever from Bihar, eight people were sentenced to 5 years of jail time along with a fine Rs one lakh each for consuming liquor in the dry state. The ruling came in just three weeks after the accused were arrested by the Bihar police. Reports suggest that it is the fastest trial under Bihar’s stringent prohibition law. Bihar became a dry state on 5 April 2016 after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that alcohol would be banned in the state from 1 April 2016.
The eight people convicted by the special court in Bihar are poor tribal in the southern Banka and Munger districts. As per reports, the guilty were arrested minutes after they returned from attending a religious ritual in neighbouring Jharkhand. The incident took place on November 9. Following their arrest, the case was put on a speedy trial and a charge-sheet was filed by the police within 24 hours of their arrest.
Commenting on the matter, Superintendent of Police in Banka said that the judgement was passed under Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016. He said, “This judgment under the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, delivered in a case of liquor consumption and public nuisance will go a long way in ensuring greater compliance of people in observing prohibition in the state.”
After the matter was highlighted, SP of Banka requested the special court (prohibition) to conduct speedy trial of the case. The matter was heard n eight dates over the time period of 21 days. On Thursday, November 30, the court held the accused guilty. According to reports, the police also made sure that all the witnesses related to case were present during the hearing of the case. Reacting to the charges, tribal community of the region has alleged that police added the public nuisance charge without sufficient reason.