The amended Prohibition and Excise Act is now in force in Andhra Pradesh, after the state government issued a gazette notification recently. The new act provides for more stringent punishment for violations. Punishment for repeat offences has been increased from five years to eight years now and simple offences will now warrant two years imprisonment. Further, the special enforcement bureau (SEB) has also been notified under the amended excise act.
The state government has amended Section 34A of the excise act in a bid to put stringent measures in place so as to implement the government’s intended policy of complete prohibition in a phased manner. The SEB has been notified in the act to curb illegal manufacturing and transportation of liquor. The SEB is an integrated force constituted by the state government in order to counter challenges that may arise upon liquor prohibition. The bureau has officials from the excise and police departments.
It is mandated to work independently to curb illicit liquor distillation and transportation of liquor from other states. The amended law has also defined the term ‘bootlegging’ and made provisions to invoke the Preventive Detention Act. Further, the SEB can now register non-bailable cases against habitual offenders. The provisions are in line with the police criminal procedure code with special provisions in the excise act in the form of local and special law.