Subsequently, after the six petitions were filed challenging the prohibition law, the Gujarat High Court gave directions to the state government on Friday to elucidate its stand on the prohibition policy and submit its response by the next date of hearing on February 11.
The petitions including public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the High Court by Piyush Patel and two others last year, challenging the Act and also demanding for the freedom to consume alcohol at private places. It was alleged by the petitioners that prohibition on liquor consumption in private space is against the right to privacy and equality.
Arguing upon the jurisdiction, City resident Malay Patel, in a PIL said that, the state government does not have the right to implement liquor ban as it is the Union government's jurisdiction.
The petitioners further argued that the state has no business in interfering in a person's private matters unless he creates a situation that endangers social security and submitted before the court that the prohibition law violates the petitioners' Right to Privacy, Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
According to the petitioners, several sections of the Act are "arbitrary, irrational, unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory which negates the principles of equality".
The counsel, Bandish Soparkar, appearing on the behalf of petitioners said that, “The HC has asked the government to come up with a clear stand by February 11 and all the pleas have mostly uniform contentions that the people of the state have a right to consume liquor under the Right to Privacy as per the Supreme Court.”
It was also decided that if the court is not satisfied with the contentions of the government, a formal notice would be issued to the Advocate General, who will then have to argue the matter.
The Gujarat Prohibition (Amendment) Bill 2017 was cleared by the Assembly in February 2017 according to which whosever manufacture, purchase, sale or indulge in the act of transportation of liquor would be liable up to 10 years imprisonment. It also states that if a person is found consuming liquor in a house or at private places he would be liable for the prosecution.