India

India's Bihar alcohol ban struck down

Nitish Kumar Image copyright Prashant Ravi
Image caption The ban was one of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's campaign promises during last year's assembly elections

A court has struck down a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in India's northern state of Bihar.

The high court in Bihar said the ban was "illegal, impractical and unconstitutional".

The ban, which was imposed in April, was Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's campaign promise during last year's assembly elections.

It was supported by most women because they link drinking by men with domestic violence, harassment and poverty.

Mr Kumar had claimed the ban would usher in "social change" in Bihar.

But critics described the ban as draconian with punishments for even family members of anybody caught consuming or possessing liquor.

Some 13,000 people have been arrested in Bihar for defying the ban since 5 April.

In August, 13 people in one Bihar village died after drinking some lethal home-brewed hooch during Independence Day celebrations.

Alcohol is also completely banned in the western state of Gujarat while the southern state of Kerala and some other Indian states have imposed a partial ban.

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