An FIR was lodged against the house owner at the Hauz Khas police station under the Delhi Excise Act for storing liquor more than the permissible limit after the owner said that he had no license for possessing the liquor bottles.
By Nirnimesh Kumar
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court in a recent ruling has held that the number of liquor bottles one can have in his or her house depends upon how many adult members (25 and above) are residing in it.
According to the Delhi Excise Rules, an adult person can have nine litre of Indian liquor and foreign liquor (whisky rum, gin, vodka, and brandy), except wine liqueur, beer, cider and alcopop (a ready-mixed drink that resembles a soft drink but contains alcohol) and eighteen litre of wine, beer, liqueur (an alcoholic drink), cider and alcopop.
The court gave this ruling while quashing an FIR lodged by the Delhi Excise Department over a raid where it had recovered a total of 132 bottles of liquor of both Indian and foreign brand from the bar counter of a house in Panchsheel Park in South Delhi in 2020.
An FIR was lodged against the house owner at the Hauz Khas police station under the Delhi Excise Act for storing liquor more than the permissible limit after the owner said that he had no license for possessing the liquor bottles. However, the house owner later moved the court seeking quashing of the FIR and a stay on the probe.
His counsel argued that there had been no infringement of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010. The petitioner counsel submitted that there are six adults above the age of 25 years, including the petitioner, and four children residing in the house.
Quoting the relevant rule, the counsel said that the maximum limit for individual possession of liquor for Indian liquor and foreign liquor (whisky rum, gin, vodka and brandy) is nine litre and for wine, beer, liqueur, cider and alcopop it is 18 litre. As per the FIR, the liquor seized from the petitioner’s house amounted to 51.8 litre of whisky, rum, vodka, gin and 55.4 litre of wine, beer, alcopop, the counsel said, arguing that, therefore, the amount of liquor recovered fell within the maximum permissible limit as per Rule 20 of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 and that offence under Section 33 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, was not made out.
Accepting the petitioner’s counsel argument, Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “A reading of the aforementioned Rule 20 indicates that an individual of above 25 years of age can possess 9 litres of whisky, vodka, gin and rum, and 18 litres of beer, wine and alcopop. A perusal of the impugned FIR…reveals that 132 bottles of liquor had been recovered from the petitioner’s house, containing 51.8 litre of whisky, vodka, gin, rum, and 55.4 litre of beer, wine. Flowing from Rule 20, as the joint household of the petitioner consists of six adults above 25 years of age, the permissible limit for possession of liquor at the petitioner’s house would be 54 litre of whisky, vodka, gin and rum, and 108 litre of beer, wine and alcopop. Therefore, there is prima facie no violation by the petitioner of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009.” The court quashed the FIR, saying the allegation made against the petitioner is not made out.