My resolution no. 734 for the year 2018 is to work on my personal wine collection. I dream of the day when I would wake up late in the afternoon in my 1- bedroom apartment, littered with 3 cats, and pop open a new bottle of wine that reminds me of that one specific day in college when I started this collection. I’m kidding, I just need a good collection to be able to drink good wine whenever I feel like it, specifications be damned!
However, the government isn’t that supportive, I mean, not exactly. Excise laws in various states regulate and limit the amount of alcohol you can store at home for personal use. As always, every state has its own specifications of ‘permissible possession’, and I’m decoding the major ones for you.
So, the law states that no ‘individual’ can stock more than 18 litres of wine, beer, cider and alcopop and 9 litres of Indian and foreign liquor (whiskey, rum, gin, vodka) at home or for parties. If you’re travelling from any other state to the capital, you cannot carry more than 1 litre of any category of liquor, and those who are coming from abroad can bring only 2 litres of foreign liquor with them.
Analysis for the drunks: If your husband doesn’t drink, the excise department does not have to know! These limits are on ‘individuals’. If you have two people staying at home, your maximum limit doubles (and so on). Depending on the number of people you are travelling with, each of you can carry 2 litres of foreign liquor. Just don’t forget to stock only 2 bottles in each of your bags.
An L-49 license can be availed from the excise department at the cost of Rs. 2000 to stock more than the prescribed amounts.
For a state that has been glamorized for its drinking, the government doesn’t allow for much inside your home. You can stock 2 bottles of IMFL, 1 case of beer (650 ml per bottle), 2 bottles of imported liquor of any size (either 1 litre or 5 litres), 2 bottles of country-made liquor and a bottle of brandy. How the caps on the number of bottles instead of quantity of alcohol make sense, I don’t know.
However, if you are a true Punjabi, you can obtain an L-50 permit to stock up on more! There is an annual fee of Rs. 1000 and a lifetime fee of Rs. 10,000. You know which one to pick!
Haryana is so much better for massive amounts of private possession of alcohol (yay Gurgaon!). I’m going to straight up ask you to get yourself L-50 lifetime permission for Rs. 2000 and start stocking up. You can also choose to get an annual permission for Rs. 200 a year, but god, why would you? If you want to do neither and not enjoy the benefits that the Haryana government wants you to avail, as an ‘individual’, you can stock up on 6 bottles (of 750 ml each) of country liquor, 18 bottles (750 ml each) of IMFL liquor, out of which maximum 6 bottles can be of Imported Foreign Liquor, 12 bottles (650 ml each) of beer, 6 bottles (750 ml each) of rum , 12 bottles of wine, and 6 bottles (750 ml each) of vodka/gin/cider.
Residents can hold 12 bottles or 9 litres of IMFL. In case you want to hold parties, licenses can be bought for Rs. 2000 + taxes for domestic parties, and Rs. 10,000 + taxes for commercial parties.
36 bottles of whiskey and 48 bottles of beer are permitted per person. If there are more people in the family, you can easily live with your whiskey! For more than that (you’re the people we have math problems about!), an L-50 license can be availed, with some special concessions under the L-50A.
A maximum of 12 bottles of IMFL, 24 bottles of beer, 18 bottles of country liquor and 6 bottles of denatured spirit and rectified spirit is allowed in homes in Goa. However, violators are punished strictly, with punishment including rigorous imprisonment extending to 7 years, minimum being 6 months, and might also include fines in some instances.
Retail sales are capped at 12 bottles of 750 ml each of ‘reputed’ IMFL, 1 gallon or 4.5 litres of rectified or denatured spirit, and 3 bottles of 750 ml of ‘reputed’ country spirit, per person on a day. There are no additional provisions for more stocks.
The government permits those with a yearly income of over Rs. 10 lakhs (1 million) to stock up to 100 bottles of ‘costly’ alcohol in their homes, for a costly yearly fee of Rs. 10,000.
The limit is capped at 1.5 litres of country-made alcohol, 1.5 litres of IMFL and 4 bottles of beer.
Permissible limits are 18.2 litres of country beer, 9.1 litres of imported foreign liquor, 4.5 litres of fortified wine, 9 litres of fruit wine, 2.3 litres of liquor manufactured in Karnataka (excluding imported Foreign liquor), and 2.5 litres of toddy (in the areas where public sale of toddy is allowed, i.e., D. Kannada and Udapi Districts).
If your age allows you to drink liquor in Maharashtra, you need a license for it. The permit is required for purchase, possession transport, and consumption of liquor, and is applicable to both foreign and country liquor.. You’re committing an offense if you consume liquor without such a permit. If you want to get a permit, check out this link which outlines the procedure clearly.
The Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009 disallows the sale, production, and consumption of liquor inside state boundaries.
The Nitish Kumar government has restricted alcohol in the state under Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
There is a total ban on consumption and sale of liquor in the territory, barring the island of Bangaram.
For all these licenses, you must be a tax eligible assessee to be eligible which means that you must have paid income tax, or be eligible to pay it. Also, you need to be able to account for the alcohol you have - so don’t forget to take and record the receipts of your purchases the next time. And oh, please dispose the bottles that you’ve emptied.
The punishments for exceeding these limits can be two-fold: criminally, you can be tried for breaking the excise laws and made to pay a fine and/or be jailed, depending on which state you are in. However, this will also attract tax officials to check your records and see if you can account for these bottles or not, and this might lead to much bigger inspections of the assets you hold!
How much alcohol are you stocking in your home? Don’t tell me! Just check if you’re within the legal limits from the above list. Write to us in comments if your state isn’t mentioned, and we’ll add it to the list!
Despite the research done by the writer, this article is only meant to be informative. It does not create a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and the website or the writer. It does not substitute for actual legal counsel-editor
Aruna is a 5th year Law Student, who is bitten by the wine bug and plans to pursue wine as a vocation after finishing her degree in a few months . She works with the F&B industry by providing consultancy on wines with a special focus on the millennial generation. She’s also coming up with her own blog on wines, millennials, marketing ( focusing on the Indian audience) and any combination thereof.