The Karnataka government has withdrawn its proposal to reduce the legal age for alcohol consumption in the state.
The Karnataka Excise Department, in an official release on Wednesday, clarified that the proposal to lower the drinking age from the present 21 years to 18 years has been withdrawn following “objections raised by public, associations and media”.
Lowering the age was recommended by a high-level committee set up under retired bureaucrat V Yashwanth to identify and eliminate “redundant aspects” in the excise law and rules.
However, after the proposal was placed into the public domain to elicit opinion for 30 days, it faced massive opposition from various corners, forcing the Basavaraj Bommai government to withdraw it.
Section 36(1)(g) of the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965, prohibits the sale of liquor to persons under the age of 18 years. However, as per Rule 10(1)(e) of the Karnataka Excise (General Conditions of Licences) Rules, 1967, the sale of liquor to persons below the age of 21 is prohibited, the department said in a release.
The proposal to reduce the legal drinking age was made to remove this contradiction relating to age.
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“Draft notification dated January 9 has been published to amend the rule proposing to substitute the words’ eighteen years’ for the words’ twenty-one years’, as per the recommendations of the High-Level Committee constituted for effective implementation, to identify and eliminate redundant aspects in the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965 and Rules framed thereunder,” it said.
Following the objection raised by the public, the government decided to stick to 21 years as the lower age limit for liquor consumption.
“In consideration to the objections raised by public, associations and media with respect to the said draft rules lowering the age limit from 21 years to 18 years…the draft rules published to amend Rule 10 (1)(e) of the Karnataka Excise (General Conditions of Licences) Rules, 1967 and substitute the words eighteen years for the words twenty-one years, has been withdrawn with immediate effect,” the release said.
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