The Delhi government has told the Delhi High Court that lowering the drinking age in Delhi’s new excise policy has "nothing to do with drunken driving".
The Delhi government has defended the new excise policy that allows the purchase of liquor at the age of 21 years.
"When the age of voting in the country is 18 years, seeking restrictions on the legal age for drinking is like living in an ivory tower," argued senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was representing the AAP government.
"Nobody in the right mind supports drunken driving," said Singhvi, adding that there are strict laws and punishments against drunken driving.
"Today, the age for voting rights is 18 years and to suggest that people above 18 cannot drink is to live in an ivory tower. Most states around Delhi have 18 (as the legal drinking age. This does not mean that if you permit people above 18, you will allow drunken driving. There is an element of emotionality in this. Also, there are very strict laws to check drunken driving," argued Singhvi.
The plea by NGO Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD) has sought mandatory age checks at places selling and serving alcohol, including bars, pubs, liquor vends and any food and beverage outlet.
In addition, the petitioner has sought court orders to restrain the Delhi government from permitting doorstep liquor delivery until there is a robust age verification mechanism in place for the delivery system.
The Delhi High Court bench headed by Chief justice DN Patel has issued notice to the government and will hear the matter again on September 17.
The Delhi High Court sought from the Delhi government on a plea to put in place a robust mechanism for mandatory age checks at liquor shops and bars with government identity cards.