B. Krishna Bhat v. Union of India

JT 1990 (2) SC 34; 1990 (1) SCALE 653; (1990) 3 SCC 65; [1990] 2 SCR 1; 1990 (2) UJ 198
Download Judgment: English
Country: India
Region: Asia
Year: 1990
Court: Supreme Court
Health Topics: Controlled substances
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Alcohol, Drug abuse, Substance abuse

The Petitioner, an individual, challenged the constitutionality of Sub-clause (b) of Rule 11 of the Karnataka Excise (Sale of Indian and Foreign Liquors) Rules, 1968 (the Rule). The Rule stated that “license for sale shall be issued to only such company owned or controlled by the State Government as the State Govt. may specify.” The Petitioner sought to declare such rule as unconstitutional and contrary to Article 47 of the Directive Principles in the Constitution. Article 47 stated that the State would make efforts to prohibit “consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.” Thus the Petitioner filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking a complete ban on the sale and consumption of liquor by the Government of India.

On the issue of whether Article 47 of the Directive Principles was enforceable in this case, the Court held in the negative. The Court held that Article 32 could be invoked in cases of a violation of a fundamental right. In this case, the Petitioner was seeking to enforce a policy decision by relying on the Directive Principles. The Court held that the judiciary was not the forum wherein a certain policy, such as a ban on liquor, is to be debated. As such, the Court held that the Rule is not unconstitutional or void as no violation of the fundamental rights of the Petitioner had occurred.

“To make the State accept a particular policy, desirable and necessary as the policy might be is not the function of Article 32 of the Constitution.” Para. 5.