Drunk Driving Law

The blood alcohol content (BAC) limits are fixed at 0.03%or 35 µl alcohol in 100 ml blood. Any person whose BAC values are detected more than this limit is booked under the first offense. A person may be fined about  2000 and\or he or she may face a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

If a second offense is committed within 3 years of the first then a person may be fined about 3000 and/or he or she may face a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.

Despite such strict drink driving law, authorities acknowledge that many times they find it difficult to restrict and make the offenders to follow the law. The offenders tend to escape through bribery or by finding loop holes in the law.

On 1 March 2012, the Union Cabinet approved proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act. As per the new provisions, drunk driving would be dealt with higher penalty and jail terms – fines ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 4 years. Drink driving will be graded according to alcohol levels in the blood.

Giving details of the proposed fine on drunken driving, officials said in cases where alcohol level is less than 30 mg per 100 ml of blood, it would not amount to an offence.

However, if it is between 30–60 mg per 100 ml of blood, the proposed penalty would be 6 months of imprisonment and/or 2,000 fine.

In case the alcohol level is 60–150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty would be one year imprisonment and/or 4,000.

If the offence is repeated within three years, the penalty would go up to 3 years imprisonment and/or 8,000. For those who are found heavily drunk with alcohol levels of over 150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty will be 2 years imprisonment and or 5,000.

Repeat offence within a three-year period will attract a penalty ears jail and fine of 10,000 besides cancellation of license.


Advertising alcoholic beverages is banned in India as per the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, which came into effect on 8 September 2000.

The government is very particular against broadcasting such advertisements on its channel, Doordarshan, whereas most of the private channels still broadcast surrogate alcohol advertisements.

Dry Days

Dry Days are specific days when the sale of alcohol is banned. National holidays such as Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) are usually dry days throughout India.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Muharram
  • The last working day of a calendar month.
  • The day of poll and proceeding two days in all General elections, By-Elections to LokSabha, Municipal Board and Panchayat.
  • Any other day the Government may by notification declare to be a dry day.
  • Dry days are also announced when elections are held in the state.

On dry days, sale and supply of liquor will be suspended meaning thereby all wholesalers will not make the supply of liquor and all the retail vendors will remain closed.

However, service of liquor in licensed bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants is permissible even on dry days except on three national holidays. On the national holidays, even L-20 / L-49A licenses are not granted. These are special temporary licenses granted for service of liquor in parties/functions.

These licenses may however, be granted on other dry days. Even on the three national holidays, liquor can be served by the hotels provided they have obtained L-3 license. L-3 licence allows hotels to serve liquor to the residents of their rooms.

There is no ban for service of liquor by anyone at his residence provided the liquor served is authorized and is within the permissible limits.

In addition to the above the following days are also dry days:

  • Good Friday
  • Birthday of SreeNarayana Guru
  • SreeNarayana Guru Samadhi (5th day of Malayalam month Kanni; September–October)

In all areas where elections are being held, the day of polling and previous day will be declared dry days. During vote counting, the dry days will be notified by the local authority.

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By Hassham

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