The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Delhi government in a plea filed by a non-profit organization, 'Community Against Drunken Driving,' challenging the reduction of the legal drinking age or the minimum age for alcohol consumption from 25 to 21 years [Community Against Drunken Driving vs. Govt. of NCT Delhi]
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice in the case and posted it for hearing on September 17, along with similar petitions.
Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Prasanna S raised concern today that there was no robust mechanism in place currently to verify the age of the buyers under the New Liquor Policy 2021-22.
The plea filed by the non-profit had also stated that this reduction in drinking age might lead to an increase in underage drinking, drunken driving and road-rage.
Opposing the plea, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, for the Delhi government, argued,
"Today the age for voting is 18. To suggest that people above 18 cannot drink is to live in an ivory tower. Just because you permit people to drink once they reach the age of 18, it doesn't mean that you permit drunken driving. Even a 50-year-old person is not allowed to drink and drive according to law."
Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, also appearing for the Delhi government, contended,
"This is nothing but shadowboxing. In neighbouring States, similar policies are in place. In any case, drunken driving is not permissible under the law."
Since the Delhi government sought time to seek instructions and to file a reply, the matter was adjourned till September.