News-CRUX-10     4th April 2024        
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Context: Recently, Justice BV Nagarathna, as part of the Supreme Court's nine-judge bench, is distinguishing 'industrial alcohol' from 'intoxicating liquor' to resolve a revenue-rich dispute, potentially challenging a 1989 ruling by a seven-judge bench that included her father and then CJIES Venkataramiah.

Overlap of Jurisdiction of Centre, States on Alcohol

  • Empowerment of States: Entry 8 of List II grants states authority to control and regulate intoxicating liquors, including their production, manufacture, possession, transport, purchase, and sale.
  • Conflict with Industrial Development and Regulation Act: The Act, 1951, and its 2016 amendment grant the Centre the power to regulate industries involved in producing, supplying, distributing, and engaging in trade and commerce of industrial alcohol.
  • Parliament's Authority: Under Entry 52 of List I, Parliament can enact laws to regulate any industry in the public interest, potentially overlapping with state regulations on intoxicating liquors.

Seventh Schedule: Distributing Legislative Powers

  • Union List (List 1): Only the central government can legislate on subjects such as defence, foreign affairs, currency, atomic energy, railways, shipping, etc.
  • State List (List 2): Only the state governments can legislate on subjects such as police, public health, agriculture, local government, land, etc.
  • Concurrent List (List 3): Both central and state governments can legislate on subjects such as criminal law, marriage and divorce, education, etc.

oIn conflicts between central and state laws on concurrent list subjects, the central law prevails.

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