Alcohol laws in India are a strange piece of legislation.
The legal drinking age in India and the laws governing sale and consumption of alcohol vary significantly from one state to another state.
Apart from every other legislation, the laws governing Liquor consumption in India lacks uniformity.
Under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, Alcohol is a subject in the State List.
The legal drinking age in India and the laws which manage the sale and consumption of all kinds of liquor differ altogether from state to state. The greater part of the Indian states allow liquor consumption but have settled a legal drinking age, which ranges at different ages per state.
In some states, the legal drinking age is different for different kinds of liquor. Similarly, Liquor is prohibited in some states altogether.
Consumption of alcohol is not-allowed in the states of Gujarat, Bihar, Manipur, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep.
Most states of India have a minimum drinking age of 21, but in places like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Meghalaya the minimum legal drinking age is set at 25.
Which means that if someone 21 years old wants to have a beer or two, he can't do so in Delhi (legally), but will be more than welcome in Noida, since the minimum legal drinking age in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) is set at 21.
- Ironically, many people from Ghaziabad and Noida (districts of U.P. adjacent to Delhi) purchase Liquor from the capital, due to all Liquor being cheaper in Delhi.
- In spite of legal restrictions, alcohol consumption in India has risen over 55% over a period of 20 years (according to OECD figures).
- The most common argument against lowering the drinking age below 25 is that people under 25 are not "mature" enough to handle alcohol, which completely disregards the fact that most people start drinking beers in college, albeit that being not-so-legal.
Curiously, many Indian states think it’s all right for people to smoke cigarettes at 18 age but not have a beer. Medical studies prove that cigarettes are much more addictive than alcohol for most people. Also, cigarettes kill way more people every year globally than alcohol.
Legal Drinking age in each State
States with Minimum drinking age as 18-years
Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Puducherry, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Goa
States with Minimum drinking age as 21-years
Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam,
Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra (beer only), Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh
States with Minimum drinking age as 25-years
Punjab, Meghalaya, Delhi, Maharashtra (hard liquor), Haryana, Chandigarh
Alcohol consumption illegal
Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Nagaland, Bihar
Legal Drinking Age in state of Uttar Pradesh
There seems to be some confusion regarding legal age to consume Liquor in Uttar Pradesh state of India.
As it stands, the initial age decided to allow consumption of Alcohol was 18-years in United Provisions Excise Act, 1910 BUT changed to 21-years by the amendment made in 1976, in the UPA Act.
The exact law can be found in Section 22 of United Provisions Excise Act, a excerpt of which can be found below:
Dry Days are specific days decided by each state when the sale of alcohol is not permitted. Most of the Indian states have declared these common days/dates of major national festivals/occasions such as Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) as Dry Days.
Dry days are also observed on and around election days of each state.
Dry Days in Delhi
- January- (Republic Day)
February- (Maharishi Dayanand Jayanti) , (Guru Ravidas Jayanti)
April- (Good Friday) , (Mahavir Jayanti)
May- (Buddha Purnima)
August- (Independence Day) , (Krishna Janmashtami)
October- (Gandhi Jayanti) , (Dussehra) , (Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti) , (Diwali)
November- (Guru Nanak Jayanti) , (Guru Tegh Bahadur Martydom Day)
DISCLAIMER: Dates of some of these festivals/days change every year, verify the dates on your own discretion
In addition to the above the following days are also prohibited days:
- Ram Navami
- Maha Shivratri
- Eid al-Adha
- Eid ul-Fitr
- Milad un Nabi