Alcohol laws in India


Alcohol – is the most loved and hated word of the dictionary, for various reasons. It forms a significant part of the global addiction demand. Alcohol drinking laws are important for all the countries, especially in a developing nation like India, where there are so many socio-cultural practices it becomes very important to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. In absence of any stringent alcohol policies, lack of awareness and irregulated alcohol drinking pattern many unwanted and unwelcomed incidents take place.

In India, there is no uniformity regarding alcohol laws as the subject of alcohol comes under the state list of the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution, so every state of India has their own alcohol laws which varies from state to state. States exercise their full control in formulating alcohol laws from production to sale.

 Legal Drinking Age in India

As per the Article 47 of the Constitution of India, every state has the power to regulate the law of the drugs and drinks that is detrimental to the health of the public. They can prohibit sale, production, and consumption of alcohol or any other intoxicating drug in their state. Each state has set their own age threshold permitting consumption and purchase of alcohol. In many states, there are different age limits for purchase and consumption of different alcohols.

Usually, states allow a person between 18-25 year of age to drink alcohol. These limits are set through state excise acts and bills that are introduced in the state legislature. Below is the table that shows legal drinking age for people in various states.



New Delhi (Delhi Liquor License Rules, 1976)



18 for Wine

21 for Beer

25 for Others

Karnataka (Karnataka Excise Department, 1967)


Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces Excise Act, 1910)


Rajasthan (Rajasthan Excise Act 1950)


Assam (Assam excise Rule 1945)


West Bengal (Bengal Excise Act 1909)


Uttarakhand (United Provinces Excise Act, 1910 The Uttaranchal (The Uttar Pradesh Excise Act, 1910)


Goa (The Goa Excise Duty Act and Rules, 1964)


Kerala (Abkary Act, (1 OF 1077)


Himachal Pradesh (The Himachal Pradesh Liquor License Rules, 1986)


Tamil Nadu (Tamil Nadu Liquor (License and Permit) Rules, 1981)


Madhya Pradesh (The Madhya Pradesh Excise Act, 1915)


States where Consumption of Alcohol is Banned

Not all states in India, allow you to consume alcohol, some of them have put ban or prohibition on the sale, production, and consumption of alcohol in their states. These states are called as “Dry States” and there are such 6 states in India, which are as follows:

  • Bihar as per Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill 2016;
  • Gujarat as per Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009;
  • Lakshadweep as per Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009;
  • Manipur as per The Manipur Liquor Prohibition Act of 1991;
  • Nagaland as per Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989.

Dry Days

There are certain days in India, when sale or consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited irrespective of the states and these are called “Dry Days”. 26th January, 15th August and 2nd January are main three national holidays which are Dry Days for whole of India. Apart from these there are more Dry Days that exist as per state to state.


Being a developing country, India is witnessing alcohol consumption as a major public health concern. Awareness about the consumption of alcohol and better laws for its circulation would help the country to understand the problem better and cure it judiciously. A rational alcohol control policy is also a way to educate people to drink responsibly.