NHRC notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh over the death of at least 11 people after consuming spurious liquor reportedly purchased from licensed shops in Kanpur Nagar and Kanpur Dehat districts (21.05.2018)


New Delhi, 21st May, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that at least 11 people died and several others were taken seriously ill after consuming spurious liquor purchased from the licensed shops in Kanpur Nagar and Kanpur Dehat districts of Uttar Pradesh on the 20th May, 2018. Reportedly, the State Government has announced an assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those dead. The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a report in the matter within four weeks.

It has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to negligence on the part of the concerned amounting to violation of their Right to Life. The reported announcement of compensation cannot be a remedy to deal with the menace of spurious liquor. It is necessary for the state authorities to take immediate effective measures to stop selling of spurious liquor from licensed shops and to take up investigation to reveal the exact reason of selling contaminated liquor.

The Commission has further observed that this is not the first incident in which, reportedly, people lost life after consuming illicit liquor. As per law, the warning that the consumption of alcohol is injurious to health is conspicuously mentioned on each bottle/ container. Wherever there is no prohibition on liquor, it becomes the responsibility of the State to ensure that any kind of spurious/ poisonous liquor is not sold at the licensed shops under their jurisdiction.

According to the media reports carried on the 21st May, 2018, the victims in both the districts were sold the same batch of tainted liquor at licensed shops. Six persons have been arrested by the police in connection with the incident. The excise department is now inspecting all liquor shops, looking for the locally made liquor, sent under `Batch 442', which is believed to be poisonous as stated by the District Magistrate of Kanpur Dehat. The Regional Excise Inspector of Kanpur Nagar has been placed under suspension and a probe is being conducted. Reportedly, an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Excise Act has been lodged against the license holder of the shop from where the spurious liquor was sold.