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Abkari Act

Abkari Act, I of 1077 is the major legislature for the enforcement of Abkari laws in the State of Kerala.  The word ‘Abkari’ is derived from Persian and it is defined as ‘tax on the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors and intoxicating drugs’.  When the State of Kerala was formed in the year 1950, the Prohibition Act also came into force.  However since it did not achieve the intended object, by notification issued as SRO No.104/67, Government suspended the operations of the Prohibition Act, 1950 (except section 1, 7 and 11) in the dry State of Kerala, w.e.f. 01st May 1967 and revived the provisions of Abkari Act.

There were three different Abkari Acts in force at that time.  They are the Travancore Abkari Act (for Travancore), the Cochin Abkari Act (for Cochin) and the Madras Abkari Act (for Malabar).  A unified act for the whole of the State became necessary.  The Government decided to extend the Cochin Abkari Act for the whole of the State with necessary amendments w.e.f 11th May 1967.  Since the Cochin Abkari Act, I of 1077, a more comprehensive act for Cochin State is extended to Kerala as Abkari Act, it is usually denoted as Abkari Act, I of 1077.

In the concept of welfare state foremost importance is given to the well being of the general public.  As such Abkari Act is a law to consolidate and amend the laws relating to import, export, transport, manufacture, sale and possession of intoxicating liquor and drugs, to curb ill fated effects of drinking, to meet the above goal.  Presence of Article 47 in our Constitution and inclusion of provisions for prohibition of liquor and intoxicating drugs in the Directive Principles of State Policy are the constitutional safe guards which protect the interest of public at large by bringing peace and harmony in the society curbing excessive consumption of alcohol.  Abkari Act of Kerala is a well armed legislation in tune with the above for the realisation of constitutional goal.

Important and drastic changes were made in the original act at the time of implementation of arrack ban, in the year 1996.  Incorporation of sections for speedy disposal of thondy articles, bringing provisions for dealing with the offence of criminal conspiracy, act done in furtherance of common intention, etc., can be termed as some examples for timely intervention of legislations to meet the greater need of the society.  The success of a good legislation depends on the proper machinery for enforcement.  Hence to meet the above goal, each and every officer of the Excise Department should be made aware of the various provisions incorporated in the Act with regard to their duties and powers, and the related constitutional guidelines.

Offence and Punishment under Abkari Act, I of 1077

Sl. NoOffenceSection of LawPunishmentPunishment SectionCompoundable or not

Bailable Offences

(a).Common Offences
1Transport : Transporting of liquor or indoxicating drug, exceeding such quantity notified by the Government, without a trasport permit.10Fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
2Possession : Possession of liquor or intoxicating drugs, in excess of the quantity prescribed.13Fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
3Consumption by Minors : Consumption or use of liquor by persons under the age of 23 years15AFine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
4Sale to Minors : Sale of liquor to persons under the age of 23 years15BFine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
5Consumption in public places : Consumption of liquor in public places, unless permitted under a licence.15CFine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
6Taps toddy : Taps or causes to be tapped any toddy producing tree, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(d)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.55(2)Compounding Fee - Rs.10,000/-
7Draws toddy : Draws or causes to be drawn toddy from any tree, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(e)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.55(2)Compounding Fee - Rs.10,000/-
8Unlawful advertisement : Prints, publishes or gives any advertisement soliciting use of or offering any liquor or intoxicating drug.55HImprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or with both.55H
9Exhibition without warning : Picturising and exhibiting scene of cinema, containing use or consumption or exhibition of liquor in theatre without statutory warning.55I(1)Simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.55I(2)
10Consumption of preperations : Consumption of preperations containing liquor or intoxicating drug other than bonafide medicinal preperations in the business, manufacturing or stocking premises.56A(2)Fine which may extend to five thousand rupees.56A(2)Compounding Fee - Rs.5,000/-
11Vexatious delay : Vexatiously delays forwarding any person arrested, or any articles seized under the Act, to an Abkari Inspector, as required by section 40.60Fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with both.60
12Other Offences : Guilty of any act or intentional omission in contravention of any of the provisions of the Act, or of any rule or order made under the Act, and not otherwise provided for in the Act63Fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with both.63
13Allowing land, building, room etc. : Permits to use the land, building, room, space or enclosure for manufacture, sale or storing for sale of liquor or intoxicating drug.64AFine which shall not less than twenty five thousand rupees.64A
(b). (b). Offences in relation to the licensees
1Misconduct by Licensee etc : The holder of a licence or permit granted unde the Act, or being in the employ of such holder and acting on his behalf-56Imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or with both.56Compounding Fee - Rs.25,000/-
(a). Fail to produce licence or permit on the demand of any Abkari Officer or of any other empowered officer.56(a)
(b). Wilfully does or omits to do anything in breach of any of the conditions of his license or permit.56(b)
(d). Permits drunkenness, riot or gaming in any place in which any liquor or intoxicating drug is sold or manufactured.56(d)
(e). Permits persons of notoriously bad character to meet or remain in any place in which any liquor or intoxicating drug is sold or manufactured.56(e)
2Mixing starch : Mixes or permits to be mixed with starch in the liquor or intoxicating drug, by the holder of a license.57(aa)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which shall no be les than twenty five thousand rupees.57(ii)Compounding Fee - Rs.25,000/-

Non-bailable Offences

(a). Common Offences
1Arrack : Manufacture, import, export, transport, possess, store, distribute, bottle or sell arrack in any form.8(1)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.8(2)Not
2Counterfeiting security sticker : Counterfeiting, selling, etc. of label or security sticker.12CImprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine which may extend to rupees one lakh or with both.55C
3Imports, exports, etc. : Imports, exports, transports, transists or possesses liquor or any intoxicating drug, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(a)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
4Manufacture : Manufactures liquor or any intoxicating drus, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(b)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
5Construct manufactory : Construct or works any distillery, brewery, winery or other manufactory in which liquor is manufactured, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(f)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
6Materials, still, utensil, implement or apparatus : Uses, keeps, or has in his possession any materials, still, utensil, implement or apparatus whatsoever for the purpose of manufacturing liquor other than toddy or any intoxicating drug, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(g)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
7Bottles liquor : Bottles any liquor for purpose of sale, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(h)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
8Sells or stores for sale : Sells or stores for sale liquor or any intoxicating drug, in contravention of the Act or of any rules or order made under the Act.55(i)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.55(1)
9Rendering denatured spirit : Rendering or attempting to render denatured spirit fit for human consumption.55BImprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which shall not be less than twenty five thousand rupees or both.55B
10Criminal Conspiracy : Agrees to do or causes to be done an illegal act under the Act, and does such an illegal act in pursuance of such agreement, by any one or more of the parties.55DSame punishment provided for the offence committed (for each person of the criminal conspiracy)
11False marking of property : False marking of property or use of false property mark, on any case, package, or other receptacle or any vehicle or goods or other moveble property containing liquor or drug, or removes or alter or destroys the original or genuine mark.55EImprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.55E
12Possession of false maked property : Possession and control of things described in section 55E, uses or intended to be used for traffic of liquor or intoxicating drug.55FImprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.55F
13Making or using false document : Dishonestly or fraudulently or without lawful authority makes any document or alters the content of any document, intending to manufacture, store, sell or to transport any liquor or intoxicating drug.55GImprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.55G
14Allowing consumption of Preperations : Allowing consumption of any preperation containing liquor or intoxicating drug in business premises, otherwise than for the bonafide treatment, mitigation or prevention of any disease.56A(1)(a)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees.56A(1)
15Manufactures or stocks preperations : Manufactures or stocks or causes to be manufactured or stocked any preperation containing liquor or intoxicating drug, other than a bonafide medical preperations, within the business premises.56A(1)(b)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees.56A(1)
16Adulteration with noxious sustances : Mixes or permits to be mixed any noxious sustance or any substance which is likely to endanger human life or to cause grievous hurt to human being, with any liquor or intoxicating drug.57A(1)
(i) if grievous hurt is caused to any person57A(1)(i)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.57A(1)(i)
(ii) if death is caused to any person57A(1)(ii)Death or imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.57A(1)(ii)
(iii) in other cases57A(1)(iii)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees.57A(1)(iii)
17Omission to take reasonable precautions : Omits to take reasonable precautions to prevent the mixing of any noxious substance or any substance which is likely to endanger human life or to cause grievous hurt to human being, with any liquor or intoxicating drug.57A(2)
(i) if grievous hurt is caused to any person57A(2)(i)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.57A(2)(i)
(ii) if death is caused to any person57A(2)(ii)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.57A(2)(ii)
(iii) in other cases57A(2)(iii)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees.57A(2)(iii)
18Possession of liquor mixed with noxious substance : Possesses any liquor or intoxicating drug, with knowledge that it is mixed with any noxious substance or any substance which is likely to endanger human life or to cause grievous hurt to human being,57A(3)Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to ten years, and with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees.57A(3)
19Possession of illicit liquor : Possession of any quantity of liquor or of any intoxicating drug, knowing the same to have been unlawfully imported, transported or manufactured, or knowing the duty etc. not to have been paid.58Imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than rupees one lakh.58
20Sale of certain preperations : Sells any preperation which he knows or has reason to believe is intended to serve as a substitute for alcohol or intoxicating drug.58AImprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or with both.58A
21Manufacture of certain preperations : Manufactures any preperations which can be used as a substitute for alcohol.58B(1)(a)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees.58B(1)
22Adds intoxicating substance to alcoholic preperation : Adds any sustance, which produces intoxication, drowsines, sleep, stupification or insensibility, to any alcoholic preperation58B(1)(b)
23Imports, exports, etc. : Imports, exports, transports, possesses or sells any alcoholic preperation containing ingredients not approved by the Commissioner.58B(1)(c)
24Vexatious search or arrest : Enters or searches or causes to be searched any closed place without reasonable ground of suspicion, or vexatiously seizes the property of any person, or vexatiously detains, searches or arrests any person, or vexatiously exceeds lawful powers.59Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or with both.59
25Abetment of escape of persons arrested : Unlawfully releases or abets the escape of any person arrested, or abet the commission of any offence, etc.61Fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with both.61
(b). Offences in relation to the licensees
1Adulteration : Mixes or permits to be mixed with the liquor or intoxicating drug, by the holder of a license, any non-noxious drug or any ingradient other than starch, or any non-noxious prohibited articles.57(a)Imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or with both.57(i)

Powers, Duties and Responsibilities various Officers under the Abkari Act, I of 1077

Major Rules under the Abkari Act, I of 1077

Drug Law Enforcement – Field Officers’ Handbook

Guidelines for Law Enforcers for Effective Implementation of Tobacco Control Laws