In Maharashtra, Serving Liquor At Home Can Get You Arrested. Here’s How To Avoid That
In India’s richest state, every time you bake a rum cake or make liqueur-filled chocolates for your family, you could be breaking the law. That’s because you need a liquor permit to use alcohol in food—even for self-consumption.
There’s more to worry. Anyone who serves alcohol to more than 10 people without a liquor permit in a party at home can be arrested. And if you are willing to take chances with that, consider this: your liquor will be seized.
Drinkers need to comply with these and a host of other rules in Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai, according to Vinay Shirke, inspector, who holds the additional charge of deputy superintendent of State Excise Department, Mumbai City. Shirke, however, told BloombergQuint that his department takes action only when someone complains and they ensure that people are not unnecessarily harassed for consuming liquor at their homes.
Here’s what you need to legally enjoy a swig or two, or maybe more:
What’s the key requirement to legally drink in Maharashtra?
A liquor permit is essential to drink—even at home. It’s issued by the Excise Department.
What’s the legal drinking age in the state?
You need to be at least 25 years old to consume liquor (strong beer, whiskey, vodka, rum and any other liquors with higher levels of alcohol).
But you can drink mild beer (alcohol percentage of up to 5 percent), after turning 21 without the permit.
What about drinking at restaurants or pubs?
The department has given restaurants the authority to issue a day’s permit for Rs 5 for most types of alcohol. For country liquor, the fee is Rs 2.
How much liquor can a person possess and carry at any given time?
With a permit, one person can have up to 12 bottles at a time. Here’s the classification:
Can a consumer bring liquor from another state into Maharashtra?
No. That’s because taxes on liquor vary with states. Alcohol outside the state may be cheaper and in that case, Maharashtra stands to lose revenue.
Are people who have a collection of expensive liquor at home breaking the law?
Yes, if it’s beyond the prescribed limits. You can argue that it’s their private property but if the department receives a complaint, they have to check.
What if someone wants to serve alcohol at a party?
A day’s licence is needed to serve alcohol. For a small family party with eight to 10 people, it’s okay not to get one—but there shouldn’t be any complaints.
If it’s a “grand” event in a building compound, terrace, lawns, etc. where alcohol will be served, you need the licence.
How much does a day’s licence cost?
For commercial events, it costs Rs 20,000. For “grand” parties at home, the licence fee is Rs 10,000.
How to get permission to host a party?
Approach the Excise Department’s area officer, who will inspect the premises and sign a map. That map must be uploaded on the Excise Department’s website for registration along with photographs, and address and ID proof. This one-time process generates an ID and a password, which can be used to generate a temporary licence, even in future.
Can duty-free liquor be served at parties and events?
No. It’s for self-consumption. You can’t serve it in your parties or anywhere else.
What if someone is found breaking these rules while hosting a party?
If a party is organised without permission, a criminal case can be registered, the host can be arrested and the liquor seized. The court decides the charges and the penalty.
What if I need to use alcohol for cakes or chocolates?
You will have to apply for a liquor permit for making food using alcohol for both self-consumption and sale.
What kind of a licence is that?
There’s a single licence for manufacturing and selling food items containing alcohol.
How do I apply for different types of permits?
The department has an online services portal.
Applicants can fill the form online, submit necessary documents and make payment online to get the licence. Or visit the Old Custom’s House Office at Fort. The permit is granted in a day.
The fee for a one-year liquor permit is Rs 100 and Rs 1,000 for a lifetime licence. An applicant needs two photographs, and identity and address proofs.
How many permits do you issue daily in Mumbai?
How much revenue does the Mumbai excise unit make by selling single-day licences?
The department earned around Rs 4.18 crore from one-day or temporary permits in the first nine months ended December. This includes permits for parties at home as well as banquets.
Who can take action against violation of excise rules? The police or the Excise Department?
Any action related to alcohol is taken by the Excise Department.
Watch | What rules do you need to follow to consume alcohol in Maharashtra?