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The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Delhi government in a plea seeking quashing of Section 23 of the Delhi Excise Act, which prescribes 25 years as the legal drinking age in Delhi.
The petition filed by one Kush Kalra states that the minimum age for marriage is 18 years for women and 21 years for men, for obtaining license to drive is 18 years, for voting is 18 years, whereas there is no reason provided for having the minimum age for consuming alcohol as 25 years.
The petition, filed through advocates Charu Walikhanna and Dharmendra Singh Pal, further states that there is discrimination against young people in Delhi, as the minimum age for consumption of alcohol is less in several other states. It is shown that the legal drinking age in almost all other states is either 18 or 21 years of age.
It is also stated that having the minimum age as 25 years increases the risk of illegal sale of alcohol in the National Capital Territory. The petition further states,
“According to reports about 67 per cent of the respondents in the age group of 18-25 years, purchased alcohol from liquor vends but were never asked for age proof, which has a corrosive effect on respect for the law.”
Apart from seeking to quash Section 23 of the Act, the petition seeks a direction to the government to show what steps it has taken to prevent underage drinking. It has also been sought that the government undertake measures to promote responsible drinking among college and school students.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Delhi government and asked for its response.