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Bihar's latest prohibition rule

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Taking one more step in effectively implementing the liquor ban, the Bihar government on Wednesday prohibited all government and judicial officials from consuming intoxicating drinks even when they are outside the state or the country.

Bihar cabinet has green-signalled an amendment to the state prohibition law that seeks to punish bureaucrats, judges or magistrates caught drinking anywhere in the world.

Briefing newspersons, principal secretary of cabinet secretariat department Brijesh Mehrotra said the cabinet also approved amendments to the Bihar higher judicial service rules, which envisaged appointment of judges of high courts on an annual basis.

When the Nitish Kumar government said it wanted a total ban on alcohol, little would have the people of the state realised that it was willing to near-literally go the extra mile to enforce it. "Now as per the conduct rules approved today they will have to strictly abide by the prohibition rules enforced in the state in any area, wherever they are", Mehrotra said.

The new ruling would also apply to UPSC officers serving in the state as well as Bihar cadre officers on deputation to the Centre.

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The service conduct rules would be applicable on IAS, IPS or other officials on deputation to the Centre, any other State and even overseas. Punishment could include demotions, salary cuts or even expulsion.

Meanwhile, it was not clear how the government proposed to keep a tab on those who chose to drink while being outside Bihar.

The rule would be amended in accordance with the spirit of new Liquor Law, 2016. As per the latest amendment in the state service rules, the state officials could not consume liquor not only in the state but also anywhere in the world.

Legal experts termed the new conduct rules "debatable" but accepted that it was within the rights of the executive and the legislature to impose them.

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