By Categories: Editorials

In its recent order banning liquor sale and consumption in three districts in the State, the Uttarakhand High Court has drifted outside the confines of law and entered the domain of morals and desired behaviour.

The court has crossed its legal remit by extending a government policy of prohibiting liquor outlets in the vicinity of places of worship, to cover Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi from April 2017. It has also banned tobacco products within a five-km radius of three gurdwaras.

The court has assumed the power to make regulations on its own even after observing that the State government “has taken laudable measures to prohibit the sale of liquor in specified areas”.

The petitioner had not sought any such ban. The court has used a petition challenging the grant of a bar licence at a location near Haridwar as an opportunity to moralise on the evils of drink.

Ironically, the Division Bench has found no illegality in the grant of licence as the bar concerned is situated outside the municipal limits where the prohibition operates. However, it has clothed itself with the power to give “sanctity” to the government order that prohibits liquor in the vicinity of the Char Dham (four holy shrines) by clamping judicial prohibition in the whole of the three districts.

The court has cited Article 47 of the Constitution, which says it is the duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of the people and improve public health, and to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs.

In general, courts refrain from enforcing Directive Principles, though some judicial decisions are based on combining their underlying goals with aspects of Fundamental Rights.

The Bench cites several judgments that hold that engaging in the liquor business is not a Fundamental Right. However, these precedents invariably arise from challenges to government policies regulating or prohibiting the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol.

In fact, earlier this year the Supreme Court refused to entertain a petition seeking a nation-wide ban on alcohol, observing that this was a matter of policy into which it cannot venture.

It is one thing to cite constitutional goals to justify state action against liquor or drugs; it is quite another to cite them as a justification for judicial directions.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court cautioned judges against assuming powers based on individual perceptions or notions. Howsoever noble an idea may be, courts should be wary of making rules on their own, as it would amount to transgressing into the policy domain.

Share is Caring, Choose Your Platform!


and stay updated

Related Posts

Recent Posts

  • Darknet


    Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.

    The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.


    Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.

    These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.

    Pros :

    • Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
    • Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
    • Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
    • Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.


    • Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
    • Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
    • Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
    • Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.

    Artificial Intelligence


    AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.


    • Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
    • Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.

    Pros :

    • Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
    • Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
    • Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.


    • Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
    • Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
    • Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.