Ahmedabad, Sep 12: The Gujarat High Court will, on October 9, hear a cluster of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949.
The matter was brought to the division bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee on September 12, with the petitioner’s side earnestly seeking a priority hearing.
More than seven decades have passed since the inception of the law, initially known as the Bombay Prohibition Act. However, the constitutional legitimacy of various provisions within this Act has come under scrutiny and is now a subject of legal challenge before the high court.
The petitions will finally be heard on their merits, following an earlier ruling in August 2021 by a Gujarat High Court bench, presided over by then Chief Justice Vikam Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav, which deemed the petitions maintainable.
Despite this, the petitions have yet to be examined on their substantive merits.
The journey of challenging the prohibition law commenced in 2018 when three Gujarat residents filed the first petition. In their filing, they contested several sections of the prohibition act and various rules stipulated within The Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953.
Subsequently, in 2019, an additional five petitions were submitted by litigants representing diverse backgrounds, all challenging the law. The petitioners based their challenge on the right to privacy, established as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in multiple judgments since 2017.
Specifically, sections related to health permits and temporary permits for out-of-state tourists were called into question, alleging a violation of the Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.