Patna High Court Seeks Explanation from Bihar Government on Confiscation of Hajmola Cartons in Alcohol Ban Drive

In an unusual turn of events, the Patna High Court has called upon the Bihar government to justify the seizure of cartons containing Hajmola, a popular digestive aid, during a crackdown on illegal alcohol transportation. The court’s query arises amidst the state’s stringent prohibition law, under which manufacturing, consumption, possession, and transportation of alcohol are banned.

The controversy began when police intercepted a shipment of sealed Hajmola cartons from Allahabad to Muzaffarpur, suspecting them to be a cover for smuggling alcohol. Upon inspection, bottles of alcohol were indeed found within the shipment, leading to the seizure of the entire consignment, including the Hajmola cartons, by the Muzaffarpur police and excise department. This action prompted a plea in the Patna High Court, questioning the legal grounds for confiscating the entire carton, including the non-alcoholic content.

Justice P B Bajanthri and Justice Alok Kumar Pandey’s bench has taken up the matter, following a writ petition filed by Sumit Shukla. The court has scheduled the next hearing for February 26, warning that failure to provide a satisfactory response from the government might result in summoning the concerned officers from the Muzaffarpur police and the excise department.

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The applicant’s plea to the excise superintendent and district magistrate of Muzaffarpur for the release of the Hajmola cartons was reportedly unheeded, pushing the matter into the judiciary’s hands.

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