Bihar hooch tragedy: PIL in SC seeks SIT probe

Supreme Court Bihar Hooch Tragedy
Image: PTI

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday seeking an independent SIT probe in the Bihar hooch tragedy that has claimed 50 lives so far.

The plea was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud today for an early hearing. However, the bench refused to hear the matter as it was not listed.

“If it’s so important, you should have listed. However important the matter is, discipline in my court. Sorry,” CJI Chandrachud said.

The plea filed by Aryavarta Mahasabha Foundation through advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak sought the formulation of a nation 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 the inaction rights of the people that 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 the law of the land,” the plea stated.

The PIL further said that ever since the government of Bihar prohibited liquor sales in the state in 2016, it has been criticised for 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 have resulted in scores of deaths, the state’s prohibition policy has come 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 that this is not the first time that India has reported an incident of people dying after consuming spurious liquor.

Similar cases were reported from Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka in recent years which caused loss of life, it added.