Indian Law Prohibits Intoxication

By May Wilkerson 05/24/12

Tipsiness is legal, but five or more drinks can land you in jail under the 53-year-old "Bombay Protection Act".

More than two pints is against the law.

Alcohol has played its part in many crimes. But in India, alcohol intake is a crime on its own—if you drink too much. Binge drinking, beer guzzling, or even downing a measly bottle of wine is a punishable offense under "The Bombay Protection Act," in effect since 1959, which limits how much booze you drink and buy; it also requires all drinkers to obtain a permit (any citizens of age are eligible).  "The daily consumption and weekly purchase limit of alcohol is fixed. Anyone exceeding these limits can be punished under [the Act], even if they have a liquor permit," says Mohan Varde, superintendent of the state excise department, which monitors the country's substance use. Individuals are allowed two "units" of alcohol per day—that's 214.28 ml of hard liquor (less than five shots), or 1.14 litres (about two pints) of beer, max. For wine, the limit is 0.448 litres (about two-thirds of a bottle). "If people are to mix and match their alcohols, they can pick from the three categories. However, they can consume only a total of two units in a day. Anything beyond two units is punishable," added Varde. Those who exceed the limit face a fine, or up to six months in jail. The Bombay Prohibition Act also limits the amount of alcohol you can buy each week, so a keg party would be out of the question—and some in India's nightclub sector worry that the country's nightlife will be in trouble if cops decide to crack down.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.