Delhi government cuts dry days to 3 from 21 per year in 2022; all you need to know

Delhi government on Monday announced that sale of alcohol would not be allowed only on three days — Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti, down from 21 days in the previous year

FP Staff January 25, 2022 12:45:09 IST
Delhi government cuts dry days to 3 from 21 per year in 2022; all you need to know

Hic, hic, hurray! In 2021, Delhi had 21 dry days. PTI

Tipplers in Delhi can rejoice!

The Delhi government on Monday has stated that the city will have only three ‘dry days’ this year. This change means that the number of ‘dry days’ has come down from 21 to 3.

The order issued by Deputy Commissioner (Excise) Anand Kumar Tiwari read, "In pursuance of the provisions of Rule 52 of Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, it is hereby ordered that the following dates shall be observed as “Dry Day” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi by all the licensees of the Excise department and opium vends located in Delhi for the year 2022. Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Apart from the above three dry days, the Government may declare any other day in the year as Dry Day from time to time."

In short, it means that bars and pubs will only remain closed in Delhi on Republic Day (26 January), Gandhi Jayanti (2 October) and Independence Day (15 August).

With this news, we take a look back at the history of dry days, what they mean and why are certain days announced as such.

What is a dry day?

Dry days are specific days when the sale of alcohol is not permitted. Each state is empowered to declare specific days as dry days. Most dry days are on major national festivals and occasions such as Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October).

Dry days are also observed during national and state elections in India.

For Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections, prohibited days are declared for 48 hours prior to the close of voting, plus during the counting day(s). For municipality, panchayat, municipal corporation, prohibited days occur on the polling day, the previous day and the counting day(s).

Why the dry day?

While not much is known about the logic behind dry days on other festivals, it is obvious for Gandhi Jayanti.

The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was aversed to alcohol drinking and had even advocated for national prohibition. As a mark of respect to him, Gandhi Jayanti is a dry day. Incidentally, 2 October is recognised as World No Alcohol Day since 2008.

Some reports have said that the reasoning for dry days stems from archaic laws and a mentality that associates law and order problems with the consumption of liquor.

Reactions to dry days

Predictably not many are fans of dry days in India.

In 2006, Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron, was quoted by the Times of India as saying that the concept of dry days was decadent and should be put in cold storage. "There should be a logic behind a dry day. The more the government tries to regulate, the more the law will be flouted. People will stock booze in advance no matter what you do."

Twitter was abuzz on Monday when the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government announced the change in dry days.

One Twitter user wrote, “Priorities of the government is very clear. Free water, free electricity, free ration & lots of alcohol.”

The Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said with the reduction of dry days, the Arvind Kejriwal government is encouraging consumption of alcohol especially among the youth.

Dry days in other countries

India isn’t the only country that has dry days. In Thailand, there are designated ‘National No Alcohol Days’ mostly on Buddhist holidays. Under Thai law, alcohol cannot be sold on these days and vendors caught breaking the ban are liable to a prison sentence of up to six months, a 10,000 Baht fine, or both.

In New Zealand, no alcohol is sold on Good Friday, Christmas Day and Anzac Day.

With inputs from agencies

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