Chennai: The Punjab government decided to amend its excise act, introducing the death penalty in cases where people die after consuming illicit liquor.
The decision was taken by the Punjab Cabinet in the wake of a hooch tragedy in the districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran, where several lives were lost due to the consumption of spurious liquor in July last year.
The Bill in this regard will be introduced in the ongoing Budget Session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, according to a government release, which said the aim is to instil fear of law among the offenders and impose stiff punishment.
A new Section 61-A will be inserted in the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, according to which in case of death, the guilty shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine which may extend up to Rs 20 lakh.
In case of disability or grievous hurt, the guilty will be punished with imprisonment for at least six years extendable up to life imprisonment and with fine, which may extend to Rs 10 lakh.
Similarly, in case any other consequential injury caused to a person, the guilty may be punished with imprisonment up to one year and a fine up to Rs five lakh.
The Cabinet also made a provision to provide compensation to the family members of the victim by the manufacturer and seller of illicit liquor. The court can order a compensation of not less than Rs five lakh in case of death and Rs three lakh in case of grievous hurt
The Section 63 has also been amended to enhance the term of imprisonment from one year to three years and fine up to Rs 10,000 for the offence of alteration or attempt to alteration of denatured spirit.
The term of imprisonment has also been increased from three years to five years for unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture and possession of any intoxicant.